Thursday Night Football isn't the most popular among NFL players and coaches. On Tuesday, the always outspoken Richard Sherman joined the chorus of critics in blasting the weekly Thursday games, calling them a "contradiction" of the NFL's player safety initiatives.
The Seattle Seahawks cornerback isn't a fan of Monday night games either because he prefers playing games during the day. But his criticism of Thursdays echo the complaints of many players who say that the NFL is hypocritical by preaching player safety, but also sending players into games on only four days of rest.
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster outright accused the NFL of "putting every player on the football field in danger" with Thursday games, but Sherman took a slightly more subtle approach when talking to reporters. Via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN:
"I mean, it's rough," Sherman said. "It's rough on the body. Any time you play a football game and play another one a few days later, it's going to be tough on the body. But it's just another one of those things. Another one of those simple contradictions of the league, because they care about us."
Sherman also tossed in a complaint that he didn't enjoy playing a game on Thanksgiving night against the San Francisco 49ers and missing a home-cooked meal.
Foster and Sherman are hardly alone. New York Giants linebacker Jon Beason said last month that "it shows [the NFL doesn't] really care about the players." In 2014, Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Josh Sitton said "it's all about money for the NFL."
Houston Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown told Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated that back-to-back overtime games in 2012 that were just four days apart took a toll on his body:
"That Friday, everything was hurting; knees, hands, shoulders," he remembers. "I didn't get out of bed until that night. I didn't leave the house at all. You talk about player safety, but you want to extend the season and add Thursday games? It's talking out of both sides of your mouth."
Thursday Night Football games first began broadcasting on NFL Network in 2006, but were previously sporadically played late in the season and on Thanksgiving. In 2012, the schedule was expanded so that every team plays one game per year on a Thursday.
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