"@Str8UpGlittle: Never thought me not wanting to wearing pads on my legs would be such a big deal lol" media is bored fam— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) June 16, 2013
What is Greg Little talking about? Last Thursday, Tom Reed of the Plain Dealer posted an article about the new knee and thigh pad rule for the 2013 NFL season. He said that several members of the Browns expressed their displeasure with the rule, but specifically cited Little's intentions:
"I'm definitely not wearing pads," said Little. "It's just a swag thing. If you don't feel good, you're not gonna play good. ... This started with the concussions and guys are coming back and suing the NFL. They are just covering all surfaces and that type of thing. They are just trying to show they are protecting the game’s safety."
The quotes then caught fire over at PFT. I don't have a problem at all with Little's opinion. I don't see why the knee/thigh pads issue suddenly has to be a requirement; it should be recommended, but still a choice that is up to the player. However, the fact is that it will be a rule in 2013 and the foreseeable future.
The NFL has said that they will have equipment people checking players before and during a game, and if a player is caught, they will be removed from the game until they comply. Little now has an automatic bullseye on his back. You can guarantee the equipment people will be paying extra attention to him, and if he's not wearing them, he'll be pulled from the game.
When Little says, "I'm definitely not wearing pads," he really won't have a choice in that case -- either he wears them, or he never sees the field again. I don't think that'd go over very well with the coaching staff, which is why I think Rob Chudzinski will make a point to ensure none of the players on the team try to evade the rule in the first place. It might suck, but if the equipment people all do their jobs, everyone in the NFL is going to have to deal with this -- when that's the case, it's not going to make one player "look funny" compared to another or suddenly lose a competitive advantage over the other.