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Pace rips NFL for helmet-to-helmet crackdown

Count Calvin Pace among those who don't like the NFL's new crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits. The Jets' outside linebacker ripped it Monday, calling it a case of "bad timing" and claiming it robs the game of the toughness element.

"I say it's a shame because the game is built of toughness and physicality, and people are trying hard to take that away," Pace said. "They argue about player safety, but none of the players are complaining.

"The players, we don't have a voice, let's be honest, because whenever you try to speak on something, right or wrong, somebody will fine you or somebody will say you can't say something. As a fan, if I were paying my money, I would speak up. Whatever the move would be to get some attention, I would do that."

The Jets, coming off a six-day, bye-week respite, convened for the first time since the league announced the crackdown. The coaching staff addressed it with the players, who were shown the league-distributed video that shows the difference between legal hits and illegal hits.

"I have no idea what the video means," LB Bart Scott said. "The legal hits and not legal hits look exactly the same to me."

Pace said the defensive coaches talked about "how you have to take your shot a little bit lower nowadays." He also said it's hard to change rules on the fly.

"It's just bad timing," Pace said. "It's hard to implement a rule seven weeks into the season. Speak on it, true, I get that. But the suspension thing? I don't see it. Do you suspend a Ray Lewis for hitting Dustin Keller (in Week 1)? That was a clean hit -- I'm not saying it was dirty -- but do you suspend a man and he misses the next game? That could change somebody's season."

Pace paused.

"I'm just a lowly peasant," he said. "Maybe somebody with a little more power will say something."

Scott, one of the most outspoken players in the league, said he has no problem with the league's initiative. He said players simply have to adjust their games.

"If you decide to take a shot like that, you're going to be dealt with," he said. "What are you going to do, not play? I'm not going to retire."