Retired NFL player teaching mixed martial arts football moves - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Retired NFL player teaching mixed martial arts football techniques

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He says it was like a light bulb went off in his head.

Former Arizona Cardinal and ASU lineman Scott Peters played seven years in the NFL.

Sidelined for some of that time by an ankle injury, Peters began to cross-train in Brazilian jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts.

It helped him to bounce back quicker, but it also gave him an idea. Now he is looking to upset the established method of doing business on the football field.

"Guys are taught from an early age to lead with their face, their helmet," says Peters.

Repeated head contact and sharp blows to the helmet are shortening players careers and causing problems for them after retirement.

"The old-school method is still being taught, unfortunately. This is what guys are learning at the lowest levels on up to the NFL. That's what I did when I played, and that's lead with your forehead first," says Peters.

Born out of Peters' mixed martial arts training, he has begun teaching and incorporating new techniques to players both young and old by fusing them into blocking moves. He finds these techniques are more effective. They reduce helmet-to-helmet contact.

"This is the evolution of the game of football, especially in the tackle box," says Peters. "This is the great eliminator, the great equalizer."

Peters' system is called "SAFE" football.

"It's coming forward with your hips and your hands up," he explains. "It mitigates, if not eliminates the need for helmet contact within the tackle box, which could eliminate the majority of concussions."

The University of Washington has hired Scott and brought him up to Seattle to train their players with the SAFE football techniques.

"The explosive movements that he was demonstrating on my players was quite unique, and I was going, hmm. We ought to continue to research this even more," says University of Washington offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto.

Peters says he doesn't see teaching SAFE football as a job but as a mission to help players at all levels reduce the number of hits to the head.

"I'm looking at this as an obligation from the standpoint of helping a solution to the concussion crisis, and it is a crisis at this point," says Peters.

His clients include a number of NFL players and the Penn State football program.

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