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NFL Bans Classic Football Drills from Training Camp

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The need to balance player safety with getting players prepared for the upcoming season has been a big thorn in the NFL’s side ever since controversy over concussions started gaining steam several years ago.

On Wednesday at its owners’ meeting, the NFL opted to ban three classic lineman drills from training camp in the hopes that reducing the number of full-speed collisions in the trenches will in turn reduce both actual concussions during training camp and possible long-term effects on players’ health, according to CBS Sports.

The three drills eliminated are known as Oklahoma, King of the Circle (or Bull in the Ring, depending on a team’s specific naming choice) and Half Line, as NFL.com’s Judy Battista noted on Twitter.

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The Washington Post’s Mark Maske pointed out that the NFL will be carefully monitoring teams and treating use of the forbidden drills as it would any other offseason practice violation.

And Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated revealed the list of names of players, coaches and referees who provided the league with the guidelines used to create these new rules.

If nothing else, the NFL didn’t simply pull this out of the clear blue sky.

The league asked people who have run the drills, coached the drills and officiated actual games what they thought would be most effective way to reduce head injuries.

Do you think these bans on practice drills are excessive?

For those unfamiliar with football drills, the Oklahoma drill, named after the university that pioneered it, is a simulation of run-blocking where an offensive lineman and defensive lineman engage while a runner tries to hit the hole created between the linemen and a set of blocking pads that represents the other linemen in a full formation.

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The King of the Circle drill should be instantly recognizable to anyone with a passing familiarity with one of Japan’s most popular sports, sumo wrestling.

And if regular football is a foot-long sub sandwich, the Half-Line drill is the six-inch version.

Of course, nothing happens in a vacuum.

Some fans are already up in arms over what they see as turning football into something that would be unrecognizable to old-school players and coaches.

Others defended the league and those who advanced the guidelines.

Whether players are any safer, or whether the NFL continues to see longtime fans abandon the game, remains to be seen.

We won’t know until the TV ratings start coming in this September what effect, if any, all of this will have.

Until then, the debate will continue to rage.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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