Posted September 22, 2011

DeAngelo Hall’s comments another example of football’s dirty secrets

Washington Redskins

DeAngelo Hall didn't say anything other players don't think on a regular basis. (Matt Pearce/Icon SMI)

Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall stirred things up prior to Monday night’s Washington-Dallas showdown by telling reporters that he’ll target Tony Romo’s injured ribs, if he gets a chance.

“Absolutely. I want to get a chance to put my helmet on whatever’s hurt,” Hall said. “Romo’s ribs — I’m going to be asking for some corner blitzes.

“If I know Felix Jones’ shoulder’s hurt, I’m not going to cut him. I’m definitely going to try to hit him up high, so that’s just part of it. If you know something’s wrong with an opponent, you’re going to try to target in on that. We’re going to try to definitely get as many hats on that team as possible.”

For some reason, this has some people in a tizzy, clamoring about sportsmanship and playing dirty, etc., etc.

Come on. The only surprising thing about what Hall said is that a statement like that can still catch people off guard.

The game of football is more or less based on guys beating the crap out of each other. When there’s a pile-up after a fumble, announcers jovially talk about how “you don’t want to know what goes on at the bottom of those piles,” and we eat it up. But when Hall says he’s going to try to hit Romo in the ribs, it’s somehow way over the line.

Few things get sports fans worked up as much as when someone violates one of the unwritten rules of the game — don’t run up the score; do not fake an injury; never set up, oh I don’t know, a wall on the sideline so your coach can trip someone.

And, as it pertains to Hall, don’t try to injure another player.

But a lot of these things happen, and are generally kept from the public because they’re less than glamorous.

That’s the reason NFL coaches stay as guarded as they are on injury issues (and why in hockey, for example, getting a true injury report come playoff time is like finding the Holy Grail): Everyone knows that injured players will be targeted. It’s not done out of disrespect for said players or because the opposing team is full of goons. It’s just a reality. Just like the reality that players do fake injuries, despite the sudden outrage over the Giants’ alleged flops.

There’s also this bit of truth from Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett:

“You think about it – he’s not allowed to hit (Romo) in the head and you can’t hit him below the knees so there’s really only one place he can hit him,” Haslett said. “Realistically, (the ribs) are the only place you can hit a quarterback now.”

Hall doesn’t sound like he’s going to go out of his way to take out someone’s knee or deliver a cheap shot after the whistle. He’s merely saying that should the opportunity present itself, he does not plan to shy away from hitting Romo in the ribs. There’s no reason he should, either.

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