Panthers' Adam Thielen sounds off on NFL's ban of controversial tackle: 'Kind of a bummer'

Carolina Panthers star Adam Thielen is among the NFL players who are frustrated over the decision to penalize the hip-drop tackle technique during the offseason.

The controversial tackle, where a defender wraps the ball carrier with their hands or arms and then drops their hips, causing the other player’s legs and feet to get trapped, was a controversial topic over the course of the last two seasons, and NFL owners decided to penalize and possibly fine defenders who use the technique.


Mark Andrews vs Bengals

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) was injured with a fractured tibia after this reception as Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson fell on his ankle at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Nov. 16, 2023. (Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Thielen, a two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, disagreed with the decision in an interview with Fox News Digital.

“To be honest with you, I think they’re starting to kind of ruin the game a little bit,” he said. “I think that it takes away the great parts of this game – that you go out there, compete, and you tackle, and you take them to the ground, and you do whatever you got to do to get them on the ground. The defenders got to be able to play defense, too. So, it’s kind of a bummer, but at the end of the day, that’s not my job. My job is to go out there and do my job to the best of my ability.”

“Any time they change the way the defense can hit you, I think it makes it tough on them. And I think it’s become an offensive game, which obviously, as a receiver, it’s great and all, but as a fan of the game, you need some of that back. You hate to see guys getting money taken out of their pockets for things that they really can’t control.

Thielen said he understood penalties and discipline for “egregious” moves. 

Adam Thielen in December 2023

Adam Thielen of the Carolina Panthers takes the field before a game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, Florida, on Dec. 31, 2023. (Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images)


“You understand some of the egregious things,” he added. “But when it’s not an egregious thing, and it’s just part of the game, you hate to see guys getting money taken out of their pockets. It’s a lose-lose for a lot of these defenders. It’s too bad, but it is what it is and that [is] the rules. We signed up to play, so you figure it out.”

Thielen is one of the professional athletes competing in the Invited Celebrity Classic in Irving, Texas, beginning on April 19 and running through April 21.

He said he is “super excited” to be back on the course and play alongside some of the biggest names in sports – let alone golf.

Adam Thielen in January 2024

Adam Thielen walks on the fifth hole during the second round of the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club on Jan. 19, 2024, in Orlando, Florida. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

“Just to be able to pick their brains and see them play, to see the way that they play the game, their mental toughness and the way that they approach the game mentally, is so cool,” he said. “A lot of positives for me; always a lot of excitement leading up to it, and when I’m actually out there, I’m usually a little angry with myself.”

“But other than that, [I] enjoy being out there with those guys.”


The tournament takes place at Las Colinas Country Club and can be seen on the GOLF Channel.

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