The NFL's crackdown on violent collisions has been a front-burner issue since a series of incidents during the 2010 season. The league upped the ante in late May, when it announced it would start fining teams next season if their players are punished for multiple infractions.
However, reviews of a forthcoming documentary by former NFL running back Dorsey Levens suggest old habits -- and mindsets -- will be hard to break.
Citing a CNN recap of the documentary, Philly.com reported Monday that the film includes unfiltered insight from Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who has sustained season-ending neck injuries in each of the past two seasons. Hobbs talked about what it feels like to be hit by Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee and called out former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.
"Even though this dude outweighs me by 50 pounds easily, get up. You better not stumble. You better not cry. You better not put your head down. Jog and act as if nothing happened," Hobbs said. "All you're thinking about is, 'Take it like a man.' "
The league issued an ultimatum about hits to the head after a string of injuries during Week 6 -- including a violent collision between Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson. Robinson was fined $50,000 for the hit, which left both players with concussions.
When the Eagles reconvened for practice the following Wednesday, Hobbs said they were shown a film about illegal hits that would result in fines and suspensions.
"Not 10 minutes after that film, we went into the defensive meeting and the D coordinator got up and said, 'Nothing changes about us. Nothing changes in your guys' mentality,' " Hobbs said. "I mean, we all knew that anyway because we want jobs. I don't really see anybody with a job who can't tackle."
As Philly.com points out, it's likely the Eagles hardly were the only team with that outlook, and that's the challenge the league faces in its crackdown.