San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner told USA Today on Wednesday that the NFL’s concussion issues could be improved if players learned to tackle properly.
Whitner said only about 50 percent of players know how to tackle properly.
“You have guys just running in there diving at people’s feet. Somewhere you have guys just running in there hoping to make the tackle,” Whitner said. “If you look at our film and the way our tackling techniques are, we’re not perfect, but I guarantee our techniques are better than a lot of teams in the National Football League.”
Whitner, who credits Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker for teaching him proper techniques, said he’ll be proactive in teaching his son the right way to tackle. That’s the same tackling form that USA Football teaches in his “Heads Up Football” program.
“My son is going to start playing next year. He’s playing flag football right now. He’s 6 years old. I’m going to take it upon myself to teach him the techniques — how to tackle and things to do. … You need to know what you can and can’t do on the football field. If I’m 170 pounds, there’s no way I’m going to run in there and hit somebody who’s 240 pounds head up. Some guys are afraid to tackle on the football field. So when a guy comes through, they close their eyes and duck their head. That’s not the way to play football. You’re gonna hurt your neck, you’re gonna get a concussion.”
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor