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Lawrence Taylor not sure NFL’s rules changes make game better

Former New York Giants player Lawrence Taylor waves

Former New York Giants player Lawrence Taylor waves to the crowd before a game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 3, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

Lawrence Taylor is 57 now, and all things considered – including the punishment he put his body through both on and off the football field – he is in good working order physically.

“I’m all right,” the former Giants linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer said Tuesday. “Listen, I play golf every day and I don’t hurt when I walk. Other than that, I have some problems. Of course I have some problems, because football is going to give you some. But for the most part I feel pretty good.”

Taylor was speaking at BTIG’s 14th annual Commissions for Charity event in Manhattan, where he joined a long list of other A-list sports celebrities.

He said he did not follow closely what the Giants did this offseason to improve on defense. But he has followed the NFL’s efforts in recent years to make the game less dangerous amid concerns about concussions and brain disease.

Although he understands the motivation for the rules changes, he does not favor the direction the game is taking.

“Hey, I’m a physical type of player,” he said. “I like to put hands on people to touch, to hit, and the game’s a little bit different now. But is it a better game? I don’t think so; I don’t think so.”

Still, Taylor acknowledged it is safer than when he played in the 1980s and early ‘90s. Asked whether he is concerned about the aftereffects of concussions and the potential for brain disease, he said, “My wife tells me I’ve got concussions every day. I don’t really think about it. You can go get tested and see, but football is a tough life and things happen.

“But I think nowadays it’s a lot safer game to play. It’s a very safe game. The NFL, I feel, if guys do have concussions and do have problems it’s only right for them to make it right.”

Taylor attracted plenty of negative attention for his off-field problems during and after his playing days, including a history of drug abuse. How might he have fared playing in the social media era?

“It’s a blessing and a curse, so that’s the way you have to look at it,” he said. “Social media and the rules right now, the NFL conduct rules now, are very much different than back in my day when we were called ‘gladiators’ and it was a plus to be tough. Nowadays, it’s not. It could have helped, it could have hurt. Who knows?”


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