Strong safety Kurt Coleman of the Philadelphia Eagles tries to stop running back Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter of their 2012 season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium. (AFP)
As a rookie last year, Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson earned the respect of his peers and fans for his hard-nosed play. But one of those plays was Exhibit A when owners met earlier this week and passed a controversial rule making it illegal for ball carriers or tacklers to lead or initiate contact with the crown of their helmet.
And now Richardson is taking the blame for the new rule.
“I feel like I made it bad for all the backs,” Richardson told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I feel like it’s my fault.”
The play that Richardson believes is at the heart of the new rule involved a helmet-to-helmet jarring hit that sent Eagles safety Kurt Coleman’s helmet flying in Week 1 of this past season.
“I know why they did it, but I won’t say that I fully agree with it,” Richardson said. “I’m not saying it’s a dumb rule, but the backs are all talking about it and it’s kind of hard on us.”
That type of hit leveled by Richardson on Coleman last year will draw a 15-yard penalty based on the new rule this year.
“I don’t know how they’re going call it, but (laughing) most likely I’m going to be the one getting all the fines and all the penalties because I just know I just can’t change the way I play the game,” Richardson told the Plain Dealer.
Many have been critical of the new rule including Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.
“That is a ridiculous rule,” Smith said. “It will leave runners vulnerable to injury. Maybe we will need an asterisk for all running stats starting in 2013. It will change how backs run or there will be a lot of penalties.”