BOSTON (CBS) — The man who ended Tom Brady’s 2008 season and injured Rob Gronkowski’s ankle one game prior to this year’s Super Bowl has chimed in on the scandal surrounding the Saints’ bounty program, and Bernard Pollard does not believe it’s a big deal.
“What are you suspending a man for a whole year for? What are you suspending a man three games for? Because he went out and played the game of football?” Pollard told Sports Radio 610 in Houston.
“Who cares if he did say he was going to give somebody $10,000? Who cares? It’s out of his pocket,” Pollard added when discussing Jonathan Vilma.”He didn’t take it from the team’s money. He didn’t take it from somebody else’s money. He took it from his pocket. It was his pocket.”
Pollard said that the game has changed so much and gotten so much faster that he doesn’t expect the sport of football to “even be in existence anymore” in 20 or 30 years.
“If you’re saying, OK, somebody’s going to get a knockout shot, OK, at some point somebody’s going to get hit anyway,” he said. “So if you go to do a knockout shot and you get knocked out because you went to go and try to get a knockout shot, it’s either kill or be killed. Which one are you gonna do? This is football. It’s not powder puff.”
Like many commentators who yell on television whenever penalties are called for dangerous hits, Pollard suggested the NFL is trending toward becoming a flag football league.
“I’m surprised that when Nike unveiled the new uniforms … that they didn’t have flags on the side of ’em,” Pollard said.
The 27-year-old defensive back for the Ravens also said that if a quarterback throws an interception and joins a play to try to tackle the defender who made the pick, he’s going to seek out the quarterback to try to hit him.
“If a quarterback throws an interception, [he better] get his butt down or you need to run to the sideline,” Pollard said. “Because if you go and try to make a tackle, I’m looking for you. I promise you I’m going to look for you. … You can’t take this away from the game. It’s a physical sport.”
Pollard did say he won’t allow his own son to play football because he knows what football can do to a man’s body, but he’s not going to change his approach on the field.
“They [change the rules to] say you can’t hit hard, you gotta look at the player and tell him eye-to-eye and tell him, ‘I’m coming to tackle you, sir. Please watch out.’ No! It’s football. I’m coming to take your head off — that’s what I’m gonna do.”