August 09, 2011
Fans of Friar Tuck haircuts and videos of helpless rookies getting tied to goal posts, avert your eyes from Jacksonville Jaguars camp. Head coach Jack Del Rio banned the forms of hazing this year after things got out of hand in 2010.
"The whole thing really had gotten carried away in recent years," Del Rio said. "We wanted to rein it in a little bit while still letting the guys have some fun."
As a blogger who could have totally used a picture of second-round pick Will Rackley(notes) with "I love Bieber" shaved into the back of his head, I vehemently disagree with Del Rio's decision. Otherwise, this was an easy decision and the natural progression of things after the team cut rookie Kevin Haslem's hair into a phallic shape last season. The veterans flew too close to the sun on the wings of hair clippers. Had they kept it to some shaved heads and lasers on the side, maybe they'd still have the privilege. Del Rio was right not to wait around to see how they'd up the shock value this year.
Hazing has made less sense as rookies have made more money. Most of the stuff is harmless and ultimately not that big a deal. It seems like an antiquated practice. This isn't 1955. If a rookie has a big head after seven years of being a star in high school and college and getting love on ESPN, getting doused with ice water in training camp isn't going to break him.
It's not like Del Rio is banning all forms of rookie hazing, though; rookies will still be forced to carry pads during training camp and will perform a show for the veterans when camp breaks. The kind of hazing that ends in ridiculous haircuts or 22-year-olds taped to a goal post are gone.
Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert(notes) should consider himself lucky. Teammates have already taken notice of his long, blond hair, nicknaming the Missouri product "Sunshine" after the similarly coifed player from "Remember The Titans." What a glorious mullet that would have been. Thanks, Jack Del Rio. Thanks a lot.
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