On Sunday afternoon, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams was concussed on a vicious hit from Carolina Panthers linebacker.
It was the latest jarring visual, just a few weeks after Steelers' Ryan Shazier was taken to a hospital after suffering a horrific spinal injury as a result of a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Bengals in Week 13.
The hit on Adams once again launched a cavalcade of debate and discourse on player safety, the NFL's most divisive topic.
Zach Brown, who leads the Redskins in total tackles (127) and has more solo tackles than the next two on the list, is among those who believe there is too much complaining about injuries because big hits are part of the game. Brown missed the Redskins' Week 15 game against the Cardinals due to a list of nagging ailments but did weigh in on the debate regarding player safety.
MUST-SEE: BEST PHOTOS FROM WEEK 15
Look, don't play football if u don't wanna get hit or hurt. So stop crying about getting hit !!! You know what u sign up for.— Zach Brown (@ZachBrown_55) December 18, 2017
Tell him don't play.... cause I'm always headhunting— Zach Brown (@ZachBrown_55) December 18, 2017
So, OK. Zach Brown isn't technically wrong. Well, at least technically wrong about the first tweet. Pro football will always have violent collisions and gruesome injuries. Brown is absolutely right.
But hits and injuries — in general — are not what's being discussed here. It's the reckless and very avoidable collisions that are at the heart of the issue.
This was not Adams' first injury sustained from an unnecessary hit. Bears' linebacker Danny Trevathan was suspended one game for a grizzly helmet-to-helmet hit on Adams in Week 4, which landed Adams in the hospital.
Most fans will agree that an NFL without monstrous hits is a much less fun, and entertaining product. But we can have our weekly dose of organized violence without the hospital visits.
Make no mistake about it: Zach Brown is a ferocious athlete. He's the type of football player who would have been just as successful in the days of wedge blocks and clothesline tackles as he is today. Nobody is telling players like Zach Brown to stop being ferocious. The dialogue is being opened in hopes of getting players to use their head — and not for hits.
But to many, discourse about safety is a blow to manhood. Any attempt to make the game safer is an attempt to make the players less manly. And that is not the case.
The best tacklers — like Brown — are the ones who grab ahold of their opposition, the players who always aim for the numbers. There are few visuals more disappointing to a football fan than a linebacker or defensive back missing a tackle because they darted forward with their head lowered, like a projectile. The hits that result in embarrassment or a trip to the hospital is the hit that need to be eliminated from the game.
We should not want Zach Brown, or any NFL player, to do their job with less ferocity.
But we should want NFL players to not have to get sent off to the hospital every week.