Vikings Legend Harrison Smith Weighs in on NFL Banning Hip Drop Tackles

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL safety committee unanimously approved a ban on swivel hip drop tackles, Monday, stirring up a storm of reactions across the football world. Some are even questioning the nature of defense in the sport now.

According to what safety chairman Rich McKay told (one of us) Tom Pelissero (NFL Network), “officials will be told they can call penalties for swivel hip-drop tackles but they must see all three elements, including (1) grabbing, (2) turning to the side and (3) ‘unweighting’ into [the ball carrier’s] legs.”

Harrison Smith Comments On The Matter

Legendary Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith, who’s gearing up for his 13th season wearing purple and gold, just restructured his contract to help the team save $12 million in 2024 cap space. Will this rule change make him rethink his decision to continue his football career and not retire this offseason?

I mean, Smith didn’t get his “Hitman” nickname by worrying about the health and safety of offensive players and there’s no doubt this rule will make tackling more difficult for defenders, going forward. So many might be surprised by the way Smith reacted to the new hip drop rule on social media Monday afternoon. Those who know him or have followed his career closely probably won’t be.

Smith brings in multiple different viewpoints, as a human, as a businessman, and as the Hitman. His very calculated and well-thought out take can help put the rule change into perspective for the rest of us.

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As a human being, he’s indifferent to the rule change. It’s not going to affect how he lives his day to day life. And as a business-person and professional athlete, he understands what the NFL is protecting, which is its product. The league is losing entertainment value when their best offensive players aren’t on the field. Then, he gets to what many defenders around the league are upset about.

As a defensive player, he is not a fan. Why? His job just got harder. Not only does he have to adjust his tackling mechanics, but he now has to think, yet again, about HOW he tackles an offensive player, instead of just taking him down as fast as possible. And as he knows all too well, whoever doesn’t adjust quickly will pay… out of their own pocket.

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Over his 12 seasons with the Vikings, Harry the Hitman has delivered some punishing blows, some resulting in fines. But that’s just part of being a staunch defender in 2024. You have to make business decisions, sometimes. I’ll definitely miss seeing Harrison Smith repping purple and gold, once does eventually call it quits. But I’m glad we get to enjoy him for at least one more season.

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