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Fears that upcoming NFL rule change is ‘going to turn this s–t into flag football’

by Moxieplay

It was news to D.J. Reed and it didn’t sit well with the Jets’ cornerback.

That commissioner Roger Goodell and executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent had said a day earlier the NFL was ready to ban the controversial hip-drop tackle, a dangerous play that has led to significant injuries to a number of key players this year.

Reed was miffed, upset at what could be the latest measure by the league that favors offensive players and makes his job more difficult.

“It’s taking football out of the game,” Reed told The Post on Thursday after practice. “I know it’s an offensive league, but, damn, they’re going to turn this s–t into flag football. I’m reacting this way because I didn’t know about this. Tom Brady said it. You heard Tom Brady’s quote. Football is not football anymore. Soft.”

The hip-drop has become a hot topic this year, as players like Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith and Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill have sustained injuries as a result of the tackle.

It has been dubbed the “cousin of the horse collar” by Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL’s competition committee.

It occurs when a defensive player uses his body weight on the legs of the ball-carrier by leading with his hip. It is often a technique applied by smaller players to take down bigger players.

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, has said that the injury rate for this tackle is 25 times higher than other tackling methods.

“We all should work to get that out of the game,” Goodell said Wednesday at the owners’ meetings.

Several Jets and Giants players The Post spoke with Thursday feel differently, even including one offensive player.

Jets tight end Tyler Conklin is opposed to the hip-drop tackle being banned.

Defensive players already have too many things they have to avoid while stopping an offensive player, such as a horse-collar tackle, helmet-to-helmet hit or hitting a defenseless receiver.

“At the end of the day, we do play football, right? It’s a violent game,” Conklin said. “S–t happens, which is unfortunate. Whatever they decide to do, they decide to do. I do feel for defensive [players] sometimes. There’s so many things that are working against them. Some of it is a little too much at times.”

Reed, strong safety Jordan Whitehead said Giants linebacker Isaiah Simmons all agreed that players who use the hip-drop aren’t doing so maliciously.

It is merely a way for them to bring their opponent to the turf, especially when that player is larger than they are.

Simmons, in fact, used the tackle in a game against the Seahawks on Oct. 2, resulting in a minor knee injury for Smith. After Seattle’s win, Smith called it a “dirty play.”

“Nobody intentionally does it — it just kind of happens,” Simmons said. “I think the big thing about it is, this year there’s this guy and he’s injured two people doing it, the same person. I think that’s really why it’s such a big emphasis.”

The player Simmons was referring to is Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson. He was the one who injured Andrews with the hip-drop tackle.

In the same game on Nov. 16, he used the same tackle on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who suffered a far less serious ankle injury.

Andrews cracked his fibula and suffered an ankle ligament injury, and may not return this season.

Of course, there are varying opinions on what to do with the hip-drop tackle.

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard, who suffered a major ankle injury because of it last January, said at the time it would be hard to take it out of the game.

NFL higher-ups clearly feel differently, though they were met with opposition by the NFLPA last spring.

There is also uncertainty about what makes a hip-drop. Is it strictly from behind or the side too? Veteran Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley needed it explained to him.

“Someone would have to sit down and [teach] me on how I teach it and coach it differently,” Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said.

Reed, a Jets cornerback, would like to see those who believe the hip-drop should be made an illegal play attempt to do his job and see how they like it.

“If a guy is thinking about that [while] making a tackle, he’s going to get injured,” Reed said. “This game you got to tackle in 0.02 seconds. I don’t got time to think about how to tackle somebody, I’m going to get somebody on the ground. If I get fined, I get fined. I’m not going to change the way I play and end up hurting myself.”

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