Roundup: NFL’s tough-guy culture is shifting

It seems as though this has been the Year of the Concussion in the NFL.

So many players — including some notable names — have experienced them through 12 weeks. Brian Westbrook, Clinton Portis, and Trent Edwards have missed games because of concussions. Last year’s Super Bowl quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner, were added to the list after missing Week 12. Then DeSean Jackson went out and suffered a concussion on Sunday.

And those are just the notables.

Preventing head injuries has become a hot-button issue this season, and the league is looking at ways to reduce the risk. What’s more, writes the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, is that the tough-guy culture in the NFL is changing as a result. Ex-players — and even fans — hope erring on the side of caution takes priority:

“They were tough guys,” (former Steelers offensive lineman Tunch) Ilkin said. “They played hurt, they played sick, they played through all types of injuries. That was the standard. When I came into the league and looked at them, I said, ‘That’s the way to do it.’ “

But players like Mr. Ilkin and former Steelers safety Mike Wagner hope that is changing, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s decision to sit out the Steelers’ game Sunday against Baltimore might be proof.

But when players are cautious in dealing with injuries such as a concussion — which has short-term effects but long-term consequences — some fans, as well as teammates, have questioned their toughness. Where in the past players took it upon themselves to play through the pain, today’s athletes are much more informed, and much more careful, about injuries.

Other stories from Around the Web on Tuesday:

  • The New England Patriots were simply marched over by the victors.
  • Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is hoping his team won’t remember the Titans.
  • The paths have reversed for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
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