Add Steelers WR Hines Ward to the list of players who are openly opposed to the NFL's policy on dangerous hits. Ward, the leading receiver in Steelers' history, particularly is angry about the controversial fines the league has dished out for dangerous hits, including six figures worth of fines to his Steelers teammate, OLB James Harrison. Bears MLB Brian Urlacher also had some biting, critical comments for the league's policy during a radio interview Wednesday morning.
Ward, a 13-year veteran, said the only reason why the league has cracked down on helmet-to-helmet hits and other dangerous blows was because it wants to push through the 18-game season proposal for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"The league doesn't care about us anyway," Ward said in a story on NFL.com. "They don't care about the safety of the game. If the league was so concerned about the safety, why are you adding two more games on? You talk about you don't want players to drink … and all you see is beer commercials. You don't want us to gamble, but then there are (NFL-endorsed lottery scratch-off games)."
Ward also predicted that a team will lose a game, sooner than later, because a referee makes an incorrect call out of fear of being disciplined by the league for not upholding the new policy.
"It's going to change the outcome; somebody's going to lose a game because of it," Ward said. "It's going to be a huge play in a playoff game, somebody's going to hit a quarterback or do something, and the referee is going to be too scared to call it. So he's going to call it anyway so he can save his tail. He (the player) may not even get fined or not, but it will come down to the outcome of a ballgame."
Ward also said he wouldn't be changing his playing style.
"We're going to keep playing the way we always have been playing," he said. "If they fine us, they fine us. It's football. I don't care what type of rules you do, you can't protect (against) the physicality of this game. It's always going to be a physical ballgame."