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'They made me wear this beehive on my head': J.J. Watt not a fan of guardian caps

Watt said he understands why the caps are required for certain positions to wear, but can't wait until he doesn't have to wear the 'helmet for your helmet'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Fans may have noticed that Arizona Cardinals players at certain positions are wearing some extra padding on their heads at training camp this year. That padding, which goes on top of the players’ helmets, is called a Guardian Cap and it turns out defensive end J.J. Watt is not a fan.

“I think you know what I think about the Guardian Caps,” Watt said, referencing his tweet after the first practice on training camp on Tuesday.

The tweet, which has pictures of Watt from practice, reads, “Dear Diary, Today was the first practice of Training Camp. I had a lot of fun with my friends. The only strange part was that they made me wear this beehive on my head the whole time. Other than that it was awesome. See ya tomorrow!”

A fan asked J.J. what exactly was on his helmet. He responded, “It’s a helmet for your helmet.” 

According to Guardian Sports, which makes the caps, Guardian Caps were created in 2010 and is a soft-shelled helmet cover meant to reduce the impact of hits players take up to 33%. It can be easily added to and removed from helmets and dampens sound and vibrations when a player is hit. More than 200 colleges, more than 2,000 high schools, and more than 500 youth football programs around the nation use Guardian Caps.

During the offseason, the NFL mandated the use of Guardian Caps for linebackers, offensive and defensive linemen, and tight ends at Training Camp to reduce the chance for players to suffer concussions and/or head injuries at practice. The caps will have to be worn at practice until the 2nd preseason game.

The NFL tweeted out a video Wednesday showing players around the league wearing the caps.  

Watt said there is a noticeable difference when he is wearing a Guardian Cap and when he is not.

“Yeah, you feel like a bobblehead, like you’re going to fall over,” Watt said. “Does it look like there’s a difference? Yeah, absolutely! After a while you get used to it, it doesn’t matter, but yeah, there is a difference.”  

Watt also added in a joke to reporters.  

“I’ll probably get fined for this. This is great. You guys are just screwing me to start the whole year. Here’s $15 grand gone,” Watt joked. “This is it. I’m screwed, I’m screwed. Roger (Goodell) is going to call me in 5 minutes.”

However, Watt does understand why the caps are being mandated.

“I’m not an idiot, I mean, I may have worn no Guardian Cap for 12 years, but I’m not that dumb,” Watt said in a joking manner. “Yeah, I mean, of course, I know. I’m not going to get too deep into this because I’ve already got $20 grand down and we’re looking at $50 (grand) as the next one and then like a 4-game suspension after that. Guardian Caps are great! Love them! It’s a great addition, we should wear them all the time. We’ve got a couple guys that might need to wear them just like walking around.” 

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