GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman and three-time defensive player of the year J.J. Watt is not a fan of wearing the Guardian Cap during training camp and he wasn’t shy in sharing his thoughts on Friday.
“I mean, I think you know what I think of the Guardian Caps we’re wearing,” Watt said with a chuckle.
Watt didn’t hesitate when he was asked if he could feel the difference while wearing the padded shell that attaches to the outside his helmet.
“You feel like a bobblehead,” Watt deadpanned. “Like you’re gonna fall over. I’ll probably get fined for this. This is great. You guys are just screwing me to start out the whole year. There’s 15 grand gone.”
The Guardian Cap is required for all offensive linemen, defensive linemen, tight ends and linebackers during training camp practices until the second preseason game. In a release, the NFL said that period of camp is when the league noticed the “greatest concentration of helmet impacts.”
The Guardian Cap reduces the severity of impact if one player is wearing it by 10 percent and at least by 20 percent if two players are wearing it, according to the release. Watt was acutely aware that they’re mandated but only for a certain amount of time.
“But not in the games,” he said. “So, let’s keep it safe — sometimes. I don’t know. Whatever.”
Watt continued to joke that his comments would lead to a punishment by the NFL.
“This is great. I’m screwed. I’m absolutely screwed,” Watt said. “[NFL commissioner] Roger [Goodell] is going to call me in like five minutes.”
Teams voted in March to start using the Guardian Cap after “consideration and recommendations by the Competition Committee and the Owners’ Health and Safety Advisory Committee, as well as consultation with head coaches around the League.” Watt said he got used to wearing the Guardian Cap after a while and understands why they’re being used.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m not an idiot. I mean, I may have worn no Guardian Cap for 12 years, but I’m not that dumb, all right? Of course I know. I’m not gonna get too deep into this because I’ve already got 20 grand down. So we’re looking at 50 [thousand] as the next one and then probably like a four-game suspension is after that. So, Guardian caps are great, love them. It’s a great addition. We should wear it all the time.
“We got a couple guys that might need to wear them just like walking around.”