The NFL made it perfectly clear how they will respond to any players or coaches who place an emphasis on trying to go out of their way to injure opposing players or who condone that sort of bounty mentality. Just ask the New Orleans Saints. They would now like to make it equally as clear that they will investigate any comment they feel could be construed as any sort of poor motivation by coaches regarding hits to the other team’s players.
Jerry Gray and the Tennessee Titans are about to find out how serious the NFL is going to take this going forward.
The NFL is looking into comments by Gray to the media concerning how he coaches and motivates his defense. After hearing what he said, it should come as no surprise.
“If you are worrying about that, you are not going to go out and try and blow the guy up,” Gray told the Tennessean on Thursday. “Great football players have to put that out of their mind. You have to say, ‘This is my territory between the numbers, and if you throw the football you better bring the Gator truck.’ And that’s how you have to play. You can’t play timid in the NFL.”
Needless to say, Gray’s exact choice of words did not sit too well with the NFL.
The Gator truck refers to the cart used to take injured players off the field, which is poor timing considering some of the devastating hits we have seen that have led to players being carted off in recent weeks. Gray may not have meant that he wants any of his players to intentionally injure someone on the other team, but this does not come across they way the league wishes for coaches and players to act and speak.
The NFL has informed Gray that they are looking into his comments, and he wanted to apologize for his choice of words as they investigate the matter.
“This is football, but my choice of words under the circumstances was probably bad,” Gray said. “If I could take that part of it back, I would. I don’t want guys thinking about injuring people, and when you say ‘Gator truck’ that’s probably what comes up. I just want our guys to be tougher.”
Tougher is the key word, as the NFL has also said they are going to be tougher on player safety. Gray has better hope that all he did was use the wrong words in his comments.
Either way, Gray had better hope that none of his Titans levels an opposing player any time soon. Especially if it draw a flag or fine or worse. This could open up a whole new world of pain then even the one Gray is hoping his Titans unleash.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told NFL.com: “We are looking into it. Players and coaches are accountable for playing and coaching within the rules.”
Truthfully, I see nothing coming from this, but Gray has given the NFL something else to look into, which is never good for any team. He has also given the rest of the league a lesson on what not to say going forward.
Tennessee is hoping it will not be an expensive lesson.