Now at NFL Camps: No Tackling

Football tries to protect stars with less-intense training

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 1, 2013 8:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – If you want to see some truly star-studded touch football games, maybe you should try watching NFL training camp. All 32 teams kick off their camps this week, and a lot of them are limiting or outright banning tackling, the New York Times reports. Just this week the Eagles joined the no-tackling club, after a pair of season-ending injuries. "They'll get plenty of hitting in the games," coach Chip Kelly said. "But we've got to get our guys to the games."

Mostly, teams are afraid of losing stars, but the trend comes with the concussion cloud hanging over the sport. Camps are less brutal in other ways these days as well—they're half as long, at three weeks instead of six, and limited by union decree to one session per day instead of two. "I remember working at training camp when the players were allowed one little cup of Gatorade per practice," says Giants co-owner John Mara. "We just didn't know better."

In this June 11, 2013, file photo, Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver gestures during practice at an NFL football training camp in Alameda, Calif.
In this June 11, 2013, file photo, Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver gestures during practice at an NFL football training camp in Alameda, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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