WASHINGTON — Redskins running back Rob Kelley rattled off the longest run of his young career Sunday against the Eagles.
The rookie out of Tulane broke off a 45-yard run in the second quarter before being hauled down by safety Rodney McLeod at the Eagles’ 33-yard line, a tackle which initially drew a penalty flag for an apparent horse-collar infraction.
The flag was picked up, however, after officials determined McLeod dragged Kelley down by his hair, a legal tackle as the NFL deems hair to be a part of a player’s uniform.
Kelley’s teammate, fellow long-haired running back Matt Jones, has similarly been tackled in this way.
As sports talk radio hosts in D.C. wondered on Monday why a skilled player would willingly keep his hair long knowing it can be used against him, Jones was asked this very question.
“It just looks like it’s so incredibly painful,” 106.7 The Fan’s Chad Dukes said to Jones. “I guess most people would be curious as to what goes into the thought process of having that long hair when you are a running back.”
“Running back’s kind of a position that, you know, that people like to grab a lot and you go and get tackled a lot at that position,” Jones replied. “Just with people grabbing your hair, you really don’t feel it until somebody gets a good tug on it, and then once that happens, you kind of just go with the momentum of your fall because it can be a lot painful.”
“You don’t think about it at all,” he said. “You just go out there and play, and if it happens, it happens. It happened to me a couple times before, and just seeing Robert get his hair pulled yesterday, it happens. He’s got long hair. That’s what we signed up for.
“It’s a part of his jersey now, so we’ve got to deal with it.”