WATCH: Christian McCaffery, Other NFL Stars Explain Why Protective Cups Are No Longer Used

by Kayla Zadel
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Football players are protected from head to toe. Or at least that’s what we thought until Christian McCaffery and other NFL players are sharing why they’re kicking the cup to the curb.

“Like Dumb and Dumber, it’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffery says in this feature piece put together by ESPN.

More NFL Players Echo Christian McCaffery’s Thoughts

LA Chargers running back Austin Ekeler says, “It’s just restricting and uncomfortable.”

“I think it’s very uncomfortable I would imagine,” states Marlon Humphrey who plays cornerback for the Baltimore Ravens.

However, New York Giants equipment manager Tim Slaman says he has had heard of some cautionary tales from players that elect not to wear the protective gear and ultimately pay the price.

“I tried to hurdle a guy… millions of people watching Thursday Night Football… you gotta be able to hide the pain. But on the sideline, if they follow you with the camera, you see through a lot of it,” Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon confesses. “That particular moment, a cup wouldn’t have been so bad.”

Choosing not to wear a cup isn’t something that the newer NFL generation is choosing to do. That being said, this is something that’s been going on for at least two decades.

Former linebacker Kevin Greene admits he never wore one during his playing days. “I don’t think I knew anybody in the four teams that I played for that actually wore a protective cup,” Greene says.

The Cup Anomaly Continues

As Slaman continues to narrate the video, he says that this mystery goes deeper than the NFL. All across the country, equipment managers can’t find any players that are willing to wear a cup.

Sam Trusner, National Office Manager of AEMA says that this piece of equipment has been around since the late 1800s. Trusner even goes as far to give a visual demonstration of how the cup provides coverage.

“Only a handful of football players continue to wear the cups. And most of those are for medical reasons,” Trusner explains.

Some players say they’ve tried this protective wear on at home and found it wasn’t for them. Taboo or not, some just prefer to be “free” and this risk is one that they’re willing to take when playing on the gridiron.

One of the Pittsburgh Steelers biggest stars sums it up perfectly.

JuJu Smith Schuster says, “I’m just not a fan of that. I like to be free now. I’m a free man.”

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