Safety is priority, Steelers coach says

BY foxsports • February 2, 2011

Safety before politics – that’s what Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said at the team’s media session Wednesday.

Asked if some of the new helmets worn by players such as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers should become mandatory in a new labor agreement, Tomlin was candid in his response.

“The reality is that if we have products out there that we know are safer than some of the products being used, I don’t understand why we don’t mandate that people use the safest equipment available,” he said.“I understand there’s probably some politics and so forth involved in that. But I take a minimalistic approach to looking at some of those things. If we have products out there that are extremely safe, why don’t we use them?”

The collective bargaining agreement between NFL and the NFL Players Association is set to end March 4, and both sides recently agreed to a slate of new talks.

As for the new helmet, it might be what allowed Rodgers to play in Sunday’s Super Bowl (FOX pregame at 2 p.m. ET, kickoff 6:29).

Rodgers, who sustained two concussions this season, credits the helmet for adequately protecting him from a concussion during a helmet-to-helmet hit from Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 23.

“It was a group decision when we decided to change helmets,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “Obviously, every helmet that is used in the NFL goes through a testing policy. I’m not sure what that testing policy is, but the one I’m using has been working pretty well and I haven’t lost in it yet.”