You might see Officials either wearing helmets or fighting back errant football players headed in their direction, at least it’s what i would do, “Fight Back”!
Saints coach Sean Payton said Monday that the league’s recent emphasis on head trauma could extend to more than players.
“In the near future,” Payton said, “you’re going to see the officials and the other people working the game in helmets.”
Sunday was an all-around bad day at the office for New Orleans Saints wide receiver/special teams ace Courtney Roby.
If the Saints’ error-filled 30-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns wasn’t enough, Roby ran full speed into a member of the sideline chain crew after being forced out of bounds while covering a Saints punt in the third quarter.
Al Nastasi was removed from the field on a stretcher and taken to a New Orleans-area hospital. His son told WWL-TV Sunday night that Nastasi was in stable condition. Roby called and later visited Nastasi in the hospital Sunday night.
“Just to sit up there and sit there and talk to him for a while … it’s a blessing,” Roby said Monday. “It definitely sounded like he’ll be fine. I’m just happy that everything’s OK.”
Roby serves as one of two “gunners,” a player who lines up wide and usually is one of the first downfield, on the Saints’ punt coverage team. On the punt return team, Roby is a “jammer,” whose job it is to block and defend against the gunners.
“As a gunner, your job is to get downfield,” Roby said. “The jammers, you’re always taught … to push the gunner out of bounds so they can’t be the first to touch the ball.
“From there, everything just happened so fast.”
If Nastasi’s injury wasn’t bad enough, Roby was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play because he did not make a quick enough attempt to get back in bounds.
An incident like that, Roby said, puts the game in perspective.
“It was a scary incident,” he said. “It kind of hit home. My mother, she’s had seizures. To see head trauma like that, I never want to see anything like that happen.
“Football’s a sport, but life is precious. You never want to see anybody get injured.”