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Don't do that: Five unwritten rules for today's NFL


There are unwritten rules in all walks of life. Corporate America has 'em. In business, it's a good idea not to show up a peer in a meeting. They exist in love as well. For instance, never date your best friend's ex-girlfriend.

As we all saw last week, football has unwritten rules, too. After Greg Schiano told his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense to attack the line of scrimmage during a New York Giants' kneel-down, he publicly was rebuked by Tom Coughlin during the post-game handshake. It sparked week-long debate about who was right.

Let's further the conversation. Here are five more unwritten rules about football:

No preseason wedge busting. I know special teams is how a handful of guys make the 53-man roster, but wedge busting on kick returns is so violent that one hit not only could eliminate your chance of making the squad but also could end a career. It's understood that rather than being a special teams kamikaze, you let up a bit on impact to preserve health.

Don't grab the package in the pile. By any means necessary, players will attempt to gain an advantage over his opponent during a scrum. Some players will reach and twist anything to create fear and pain. It's widely understood in football that you do not grab another man's package, however. Have some dignity, fellas.

No going low for the knees. As tough and as violent as this game is, every player in the NFL understands this game also serves as a livelihood. So play the game straight up. When a defensive player is in position to form tackle and decides to take out the opposing player knees, it's considered to be dirty and breaks an unwritten rule.

Headed out of bounds? Don't accelerate for collision. How many times have you seen a running back forced out of bounds by a defensive player's pursuit angle? When a running back is choking down from full speed to exit out of bounds while still in the field of play, it's known as an automatic surrender. The defensive player knows to guide him out of bounds rather than collide.

If a player sees a hazardous pile behind his opponent, don't push him over. When a player cannot impact a play or the play is dead, and he sees a moving pile forming behind a player he's engaged with, the choice is simple -- don't push him over it. When I played, I can recall being engaged with Hall of Famer Willie Roaf at the end of a play. The pile was behind Roaf's knees, so I decided to hold up rather than finish him off. Don't be that guy.

Follow Akbar Gbajabiamila on Twitter _@AkbarGbaja_.

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