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Jim Brown: NFL 'way behind' NASCAR in terms of safety

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Jim Brown is taking a position with the Browns front office again.(USATSI)
Jim Brown thinks the NFL is 'way behind' NASCAR in terms of safety. (USATSI)

Looking for a total non-sequitur on this quiet Sunday afternoon? How about NFL legend Jim Brown busting out his apples-and-oranges scale and comparing NASCAR with the NFL when it comes to safety?

In fairness, Brown was actually asked by ESPN's Terry Blount to compare the two sports safety-wise and said the NFL is "way behind" NASCAR when it comes to "safety concepts."

"We are way behind," Brown said. "NASCAR stepped up their safety concepts, and I think the drivers feel NASCAR is doing everything that can be done.

"So we are a little behind NASCAR in that respect. Someone in NASCAR realized there were certain things that could be done to make it safer. The same thing has to happen in football. It's two different sports, but you want to make sure it's as safe as you can make it."

OK, in the sense that both sports were not as safe as they could've been, yes, there is a similarity. And both sports are doing a pretty good job improving the safety of the folks involved.

But are we really trying to compare guys making left turns at 200 mph versus the gladiators of the gridiron? I don't even mean that to say one is tougher or one may or may not be a sport. It's just that one (NASCAR) is vastly more dangerous by nature but also vastly more prepared to make technology and innovation work for safety purposes.

That's just what happens when your sport operates, literally, inside a machine. But Brown did have a salient point: The NFL is finally making an earnest effort to fix safety issues surrounding the game.

"This is the first time [the NFL] has really taken the safety situation seriously," Brown said. "Part of that was forced on them because of the concussion lawsuits, but I think when we come out of this we'll have a much safer game without taking away from the impact of the game."

Brown appreciated the league's decision to implement safety rules but did lament the new lowering-the-crown-rule, calling it "an honest effort to make the game safer" but saying he didn't "quite like that one."

Perhaps Brown's most interesting comment was a throwaway line in the article after being asked about his new front-office position with the Browns.

"They have a little running back there [Trent Richardson] I might be able to help," Brown said. "And some of those players are staying out a little too late at night. I have a little advice for them, as well."

Hmmm.

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