Former Chicago Bears' middle linebacker Brian Urlacher made headlines this week when he revealed that defensive players routinely faked injury as a tactic to slow high-powered offenses. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker spoke publicly Thursday about the charge, denying the team would employ such tactics in 2013 -- according to ESPN Chicago.
It's often said that this tactic is widespread in college and professional ranks, but is rarely spoken about publicly. Urlacher's statements were corroborated by current Bears' safety Major Wright. The technique outlined involved designating a player on defense as the "dive guy" who would fake injury when given a signal by the coaching staff. These strategies could see more prevalence around the league as offenses employ hurry up systems and read option packages.
The NFL sent a memo to clubs outlining that these tactics would be subject to fines and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
"We have instructed all officials to be on the alert for violations of this rule. Further, if it is determined by video review or other means available to the League office that defensive players are engaging in such practices, such players and their coaches may be subject to disciplinary action"
Chicago Bears' head coach Marc Trestman denied any knowledge of the tactic, indicating that it's something he's never practiced in the CFL. Mel Tucker also indicated that injury faking wouldn't continue while he is defensive coordinator.