The rule does not cover practices, but Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is making the players wear all pads beginning with today’s practice to get everyone used to them.
“That’s cosmetic, really,” Lewis said. “A lot of our players are comfortable wearing thigh boards. They’re asked to wear them in college, and most of our guys are so young that they’ve worn them the last two or three years. And they’re skill players. For Terence Newman, he’s probably the biggest adjuster. James Harrison, too.”
Newman, who is in his 11th year in the league, said he has worn them in the past, but not since 2006 when he was playing for Bill Parcells in Dallas.
“Parcells, he kind of mandated it,” Newman said. “I wore them for quite a while then kind of just shed them because I didn’t really get hit in my thighs. It’s not really what happens to DBs, so there was no sense in wearing them. The knee pads sometimes kind of annoy you a little bit. They move. That’s probably going to be the worst part for me.”
There are several varieties of each available, and many of the veterans not accustomed to wearing them said they would experiment with each type during camp.
"I'm going to start trying out the different ones (today) when we go full pads and find one I like," said defensive end Robert Geathers, the longest tenured Bengals players who is entering his 10th season. "I haven't worn them since college. You just feel lighter and quicker. But it's part of football. I'll adjust."
If a player is found to not be wearing the pads during a game, he will be sent off the field. The one exception to the new rule is kickers, a loophole Newman found intriguing.
“What I’m going to try to do is be like a backup kicker and then that way I don’t have to wear the thigh pads or the knee pads, and I can do it legally,” he joked.