, Gloucester, MA

August 28, 2013

Crunch Time

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Filing suit

The NFL Players Union officially filed a grievance against the New England Patriots on Tuesday for unpaid wages to currently incarcerated tight end Aaron Hernandez.

The NFLPA is looking to acquire $82,000 in workout bonuses the Patriots reportedly owe, but have refused to pay Hernandez, who was released by the Patriots this summer and is facing first degree murder charges.

A team can recover bonus money and avoid a cap hit if a player violates one of the league’s personal-conduct policies or defaults on contract language, and first degree murder certainly fits that bill.

I’m all for paying players what they are owed, but the NFLPA does not come out of this looking good by attempting to get money owed to a man charged with murder.

Knee shots

Head shots have been the NFLs main focus over the last few seasons, but such a focus on shots to the head has led to defensive players going low, and NFL players say they would rather be hit in the head than the knee.

On Tuesday the NFL issued a statement saying it will be looking more closely into hits to a defenseless players knee and could come down on players for such hits. Knee shots have been brought to the forefront this week due to a season ending hit on Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller.

“We are always looking at plays that may elevate themselves and we do include in that category hits on defenseless players,” NFL chief of football operations Ray Anderson said. “And certainly the hits to knees to players who have not had the opportunity to protect themselves or are not looking in the direction of where the hit comes from — we have had a couple hits whereby a player was hit below [or at] the knees.”

The NFL is really pushing it with this one. Head shots have rightfully been legislated out of the game but if players are making concerted efforts not to hit a player high, they are going to continue to go low out of fear of a fine. Legislating low hits out of the game shrinks a defensive players attack zone even more.

Fans love offense, but with the way the NFL is going, it is going to be extremely tough to play any defense in the league in the near future.

-Compiled by Nick Curcuru