In an effort to minimize impacts to the head, the NFL is making some players wear Guardian Caps over their helmets during training camp. The additional layer of protective padding is a safety measure to help reduce injuries to linemen, linebackers and tight ends.
Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Jason Kelce had some fun with his Guardian Cap at the team’s training camp last week. The 34-year-old showed up to practice with bubble wrap sloppily attached to his helmet, which got some pretty good laughs.
“I mean, if the NFL says a Guardian Cap adds 20% of protection — I figure the bubble wrap gave me another two or three,” Kelce joked, via The Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to the league: “The NFL says the cap reduces head contact by 10% if one player is wearing it, and 20% if all players involved are wearing them.”
But Kelce adds his headwear choice is not actually a protest of the mandate. He just thought it would be funny.
“They’re just trying to make it a safer game,” he said. “Trying to protect the health of the players as much as they can, so it’s just the newest thing.”
Players, Coaches Join Jason Kelce to Weigh in on Guardian Caps
Although Jason Kelce and others in the NFL have accepted using the Guardian Caps, they do note that it may not be ideal. New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh chimed in recently.
“The spirit of it all is really good,” Saleh said. “But I think because of the soft blow, it’s kind of lending the players to use their heads a little bit more. I think the first time when they take it off there’s [going to be] a shock.”
Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt also offered his opinion on the Guardian Cap, but it was a bit fierier.
“I’ll probably get fined for this. But you feel like a bobblehead, like you’re gonna fall over,” the veteran said. Watt later shared that if the science says the caps reduce head trauma enough, why only require them in training camp “but not in the games”?
“So let’s keep it safe sometimes,” Watt wondered. “I don’t know, whatever.”