FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady doesn’t want to watch another one of his receivers get taken out by a hit to the legs.
The New England Patriots quarterback lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to a painful-looking knee injury late in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s loss to the Denver Broncos. But while Brady agreed Sunday that the low hit was perfectly legal, he’d like to see a change in the rules.
“Obviously, it’s a contact sport, guys are going to get hit,” Brady said Wednesday. “You hate to see one of your guys take hits. But I do think they should change some of the rules with those defenseless receivers. …
“Everyone else has their legs protected in the NFL. Quarterbacks get their legs protected, defensive linemen get their legs protected, linebackers get their legs protected. I don’t see why a defenseless receiver shouldn’t get his legs protected, either. Maybe that’s something they look at in the offseason.”
As the rule stands now, defenders can’t hit a defenseless receiver anywhere in the head or neck area, but everywhere else is fair game, as long as they don’t lead with their head. Broncos safety Darian Stewart led with his shoulder on Gronk, so the hit was clean.
And Brady said without any rule in place, it’s hard for him to make sure he keeps his receivers out of trouble.
“You hate to see, you throw the ball to a position or your player, certainly one of your receivers is in a vulnerable position,” Brady said. “It gets tough. You always try to gauge how close the defender is and his ability to close on the ball and so forth, but it’s a real hard thing for a quarterback.”
Gronkowski suffered no structural damage to his knee and is considered week to week, so at least Brady can breathe easily this time.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski against the Buffalo Bills half at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
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