Winston Guy knows the deal.
He plays safety at the University of Kentucky. A safety's job is to tackle. A safety's job is to hit. A safety's job is to separate the player from the football.
"Defense in general, it's a very violent thing," said the former Lexington Catholic star after UK's football practice on Wednesday. "I know they're big on trying to protect the receivers and people coming over the middle, but I think it's just natural. You've got to tackle. You've got to play. You can't worry about accidentally hitting somebody in the head."
But the NFL is worried. It showed that on Tuesday. After a weekend of vicious hits, and helmet-to-helmet contact, the league handed out fines to three players, totaling $175,000.
It also sent a clear message: Next time, players might be suspended before they are fined, even on first offense.
Not that the NFL cornered the market on violence and injury.
Just last Saturday in college football, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down after making a tackle on a kickoff in a game against Army.
It's a dangerous game, a violent game.
The trick is trying to make the game safer, to cut back on injuries, especially head injuries, yet keep it the game of football.
Guy said he watches the NFL, on Sundays and Mondays. He sees the head-on collisions by bigger, faster athletes at the top of the sport. It's where he would like to one day play.
"I don't think no player is intentionally trying to hurt people," he said. "People get hurt because it just happens like that. It's the game of football."
Plus, as Guy pointed out, the adage is that when you try to play not to get hurt, that's when you get hurt.
"You can't play safe," he said.
But can the game be made safer? And do the powers that be who run football, who make the rules, want safety over the basic controlled-violence appeal of the game?
Football isn't like NASCAR, where the fans are waiting for an accident, but when the big hit comes, there is that "ooh" and "aah" from the crowd.
ESPN's Monday Night Countdown used to show the biggest hits of the week, with ex-U of L and Denver Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson as the host. When that crunching, violent hit came, the crew in the studio would yell, "He got jacked UP!"
"I think it's good in a way," said Guy of the new emphasis on safety, "because they are trying to protect everybody."
No sport, not college football, especially not the NFL, wants a day where a player doesn't get up after a hard hit.
But, said Guy, "I think they're trying to take the aggressiveness away from players who are trying to make the big hit. I remember I saw DeSean Jackson get hit (Sunday), and I don't think there was any intention. He was just trying to make a play, make a statement."
He being Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, who administered a hard hit that caused Jackson, a Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, to suffer a concussion. Jackson has already been ruled out for Philadelphia's game Sunday against Tennessee. Robinson was hit with a $50,000 fine.
"I think (Jackson) hitting the ground so hard caused him to get the concussion," Guy said. "Actually, both of them got hurt, not just one player."
Indeed, Robinson suffered a concussion, as well.
"When I'm out there, you're not trying to hurt people," Guy said. "Nobody's trying to end people's careers. It's just the game of football. You try to make plays. You try to create turnovers. You try to do things right for the defense. Same way as the offense is trying to make plays.
"That's just the game of football."