Richard Sherman, Josh Norman blast NFL for new helmet rule

The NFL is catching heat from its players on the new “lowering the helmet” rule.

Richard Sherman and Josh Norman, two of the league’s most high-profile and hard-hitting cornerbacks, are among those who ripped the new rule, which was approved by the owners unanimously on Tuesday.

The rule states it is a foul if a player lowers his head and initiates contact with his helmet and will result in a 15-yard penalty. The player may also be disqualified.

The goal of the new rule is meant to protect players and reduce concussions but Sherman believes it will result in more injuries.

“It’s ridiculous,” the 49ers corner told USA Today. “Like telling a driver if you touch the lane lines, you’re getting a ticket. (It’s) gonna lead to more lower-extremity injuries.”

Sherman has defended helmet-first hits in the past, too.

When Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was concussed by a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jaguars safety Barry Church in the AFC Championship game, Sherman defended the hit.

See the controversial hit: 
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Rob Gronkowski suffers concussion during AFC title game
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Rob Gronkowski suffers concussion during AFC title game
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots drops a pass before being hit by Barry Church #42 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots is hit by Barry Church #42 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots is hit by Barry Church #42 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts after an injury after being hit by Barry Church #42 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts after an injury in the second quarter during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts after an injury in the second quarter during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) reacts after a hit by Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Barry Church (not pictured) during the second quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) lays on the field as Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Barry Church (42) reacts during the second quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski is taken to the locker room after a hit to his head during the second quarter. The New England Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Jan. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots walks off the field after an injury in the second quarter during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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“The hit on Gronk is the only way Church could have done his job without just obliterating Gronks knee,” he tweeted at the time. “If he would have just hit him low most ppl would calm (sic) him dirty. So there is nothing he can do to make veryone happy and do his job. Unless you think he should let him catch.”

Norman pointed out that enforcing the rule would be almost impossible and that contact with the helmet in football is unavoidable.

“I don’t know how you’re going to play the game,” he said. “If your helmet comes in contact? How are you going to avoid that if you’re in the trenches and hit a running back, facemask to facemask and accidentally graze the helmet? It’s obviously going to happen. So, I don’t know even what that definition looks like.”

NFL Commissioner attempted to explain the rules change on Wednesday as the league wrapped up its annual owners meeting in Orlando.

“Our focus is how to take the head out of the game and make sure we’re using the helmet as protection, and it’s not being used as a weapon,” he said. “That’s the core of what we’re focused on, and I think we made a tremendous amount of progress ont hat this week.

“There’s still a great deal of communication and education that still needs to take place. We’ll be doing that over the next 90 days including going to each club, having players, coaches, medical staff, all hands on deck at each club to go through the changes.”

Related: See inside the NFL meetings: 

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Inside the annual NFL meetings
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Inside the annual NFL meetings
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answers questions during the AFC & NFC coaches breakfast at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett answers questions during the AFC & NFC coaches breakfast at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie speaks with NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent after a meeting at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attends the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn breaks from the conference room at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel answers questions during the AFC & NFC coaches breakfast at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: (LtoR) Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn and Owner Dean Spanos break from the conference room at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn (L) and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke talk after a meeting at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answers questions during the AFC & NFC coaches breakfast at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll answers questions during the AFC & NFC coaches breakfast at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden answers questions during the AFC & NFC coaches breakfast at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27: Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia answers questions during the AFC & NFC coaches breakfast at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 27, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions during the closing press conference at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
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