Goodell talks harmful hits during tailgating visit

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is making no bones about it. Players who play to wound seriously will be fined big time.

So, how is that impacting our younger players here, whose bodies may not yet be ready to take such big hits?

For many players, the name of the game is to hit hard and keep hitting, until you literally knock the key players on the other team out of the game.

Now, you've got to use your brain when it comes to football.

"The game is still a very physical game," Goodell said. "We want to do everything we can to make it safe as we can for the players."

The "Commish" said no more hardcore hits or you will pay, as we saw with Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison, who forked-out $100,000 for his last three infractions.

"We look at the discipline to make sure the discipline stops the behavior," Goodell said. "So that's why we said we're going to look at increasing those fines and we're going to potentially have suspensions if those rules continue to be violated."

Goodell was dead serious about stopping offensive hits. Tailgaters we caught-up with agreed. Diane Weeks said her neighbor plays for Ryle High School.

"Go Ryle! Still in the playoffs!" Weeks yelled. She said they're really clamping down on players there.

"They have been very strict this year on their kids getting concussions and a lot of kids have sat out this year because they haven't abided by the rules and if there is any injury whatsoever they've sat them out," she said.

Sparkle Torruella's brother is a Freshman on the Lakota East football team and he is well-aware of the physicality of the game.

"He understands," she said. "My brother, who is older than him, he actually got his arm broken twice and blew out his knee during a game, so my parents were leery about letting the younger ones play."

"I think they need to look at like special teams," lifelong Steelers fan Craig Reeves said. "The onside kicks, the kickoffs and the punts, that's where a lot of the vicious hits take place."

Reeves is the "black sheep" of his family, just ask his Bengal fan and brother, Neil.

"Well, he's the rotten egg," he laughed.

Make Craig the "black and gold" sheep.

These two brothers have been able to coexist peacefully in the same household for more than two decades.

"He's actually a Dolphins fan," Reeves laughed and pointed to his brother Neil. "He's just wearing the Bengals gear! Us true Pittsburgh fans, I missed two games in 17 years."

"When you put in perspective how much money the players truly make," Neil Reeves said. "To make an impact for them, a hundred thousand dollars is probably what it would take for them to get the message."

Goodell said we are seeing a cultural change in the NFL right now and that the steep fines appear to be working.

Parents we spoke with said they're already seeing a change in philosophy from the early ages, right up through the professional level, now that these harmful hits are a huge focal point for everybody.

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