Freeman expects to draw helmet hit penalties

The NFL's new helmet rule has generated plenty of buzz since teams reported for training camp in late July.

There has been confusion, which led to the league to release a fact sheet, and even acceptance at some levels. The one thing that is clear, however, is players will have to adjust on the field or risk a penalty.

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman appears to accept the league's guidance as it stands, but he also doesn't plan on altering his physical running style with an understanding he could draw the yellow flag.

"I definitely think I'm going to get (that call) a couple of times this year," Freeman said, via Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution .

The league implemented the rule, which prohibits the lowering of the head to initiate and make contact with the helmet on an opponent, to protect players. Infractions, in general, will be easier to identify in the open field, but running backs often do most of their work between the tackles in the trenches.

Freeman, who is powerfully built at 5-foot-8, 209 pounds, admitted that the new rule is a good idea, but there could be trouble modifying how the dynamic rusher attacks the defense given his low center of gravity.

"It's going to be one of those things it's hard to do something about," he said. "You know Devonta Freeman. You know how Devonta Freeman runs. You know how Devonta Freeman practices. You know my mindset."

Nevertheless, the Falcons' star running back now has two things to consider heading into the 2018 regular season.

The first surrounds his overall health given Freeman dealt with two concussions last year. The second surrounds how he adapts to the new rule because now he would put his offense in a bad situation should he draw a flag for lowering his helmet to initiate contact.