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Daily Madden: The Confusion Over NFL Tackling Rules

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An injured Dustin Keller#81 of the Miami Dolphins is carted off the field as Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger #36 speaks with an official during a preseason game at Reliant Stadium on August 17, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Injured tight end Dustin Keller #81 of the Miami Dolphins is carted off the field as Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger #36 speaks with an official during a preseason game at Reliant Stadium on August 17, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

JohnMadden01-228 John Madden
John Madden began his pro football coaching career in 1967 as t...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller suffered a serious injury when he was hit in the knees following a reception in a game against the Houston Texans. The player who hit him, Texan safety D.J. Swearinger, suggested rule changes outlawing hits to the head have forced defenders to target the knees when tackling.

John Madden isn’t buying it. “We’re not talking about tackling,” Madden told the KCBS morning crew, noting the ‘head hit’ rule only applies to defenseless players. “I hear all these guys say ‘you can’t tackle anywhere… you can’t tackle high, you can’t tackle low.’ If he can see you, and he’s not defenseless and he’s making moves and he’s a ball carrier, you can tackle him anywhere… He could have hit him someplace else.”

Madden said he is seeing fewer hits to the head in NFL games. “I think that you’re seeing less head in the tackles, and more hands, arms and shoulders. The helmet has become so strong it’s a weapon, and the face masks also.” John said the NFL may limit the number of bars on face masks. “You’re not going to do anything about the helmet, but you can do something about the face masks.”

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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