NFL running back Kenyan Drake supports controversial rule change, points to 2021 injury

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NFL running back Kenyan Drake appeared to be one of the few who supported the league in banning hip-drop tackles on Monday.

Drake wrote on X that it was because of the tackling technique that he lost a handful of games during the 2021 season when he was in his first year with the Las Vegas Raiders. He reposted the play on the social media platform to make his point.


Kenyan Drake carted off

Running back Kenyan Drake, #23 of the Las Vegas Raiders, is taken off the field on a cart after he was injured on a play against the Washington Football Team during their game at Allegiant Stadium on Dec. 5, 2021 in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“I don’t care about popular opinion,” he wrote. “I lost my right ankle and a quarter of the ‘21 season to this type of tackle. something had to give and I’m glad it’s not anybody legs/ankles anymore.”

The technique appeared to be used to get Drake down to the ground in a game against the Washington Football Team. He was also hit by two other players. He had one rushing attempt and one catch in that game, and then he did not play for the rest of the season.

“Graphic Video Warning: The #NFL needs to look at this specific style of tackling,” he wrote on X in December 2021. “They are throwing flags for taunting and protecting qbs from getting touched but this is my 2nd straight season being injured by a guy pulling me back and using his body weight to roll up my legs.”

Kenyan Drake vs Bengals in 2021

Running back Kenyan Drake, #23 of the Las Vegas Raiders, walks off the field after warmups before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Allegiant Stadium on Nov. 21, 2021 in Las Vegas. (Chris Unger/Getty Images)


NFL team owners unanimously approved the rule change.

A violation of the rule will result in a 15-yard penalty and likely fines for players. NFL executive Jeff Miller said the hip-drop tackle was used 230 times last season and at least 15 players missed time with injuries as a result.

The NFL Players Association has opposed to the rule.

“It doesn’t get used very often, but when it is used, it’s incredibly injurious to the runner,” NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said. “The runner is purely defenseless.

Rich McKay talks to reporters

Rich McKay, left, Atlanta Falcons CEO and Competition Committee chairman, looks on as Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president of communications, addresses reporters about rules changes at the NFL owners meetings on Monday, March 25, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)


“And I have heard defenders say it before, and I hear them, ‘Hey, you’re putting me in a really tough spot. You’re saying I can’t hit here. What do I do?’ And my response has always been, ‘Well, you can’t do that, and that’s just because the guy you’re hitting is defenseless and has no way to protect himself.’ So we’ve got to protect him and you’ve got to come up with other ways, and you know what, they do.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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