Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are only 12 games into their NFL careers, but the two Jets rookies can still relate to fellow safety Mike Mitchell, the veteran Pittsburgh Steeler who on Wednesday blasted the league over what he views as an overly strict approach to hitting.

100%, I agree, Adams told the Daily News in Florham Park on Thursday. Hes right.

The game is changing, Maye added to the News. Theyre just trying to keep us safe and protect everybody, which I get. But its also football at the end of the day, and its a contact sport, so I feel like certain hits will be made.

Mitchells comments came two days after a shockingly violent AFC North contest between the Steelers and Bengals that drew considerable criticism, including from the ESPN broadcasters calling the game. The NFL handed down one-game suspensions to Pittsburgh receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cincinnati safety George Iloka for illegal hits to the head. Ilokas was later rescinded on appeal, but the league still fined him close to $37,000. Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier also suffered a severe spinal injury on a hit early in the first quarter.

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Smith-Schuster delivered a devastating block to Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who was stretchered off the field and remains in concussion protocol. Smith-Schuster stood over Burfict for several seconds after the hit to taunt his opponent.

On Wednesday at the Steelers facility, Mitchell who was fined $48,000 for a hit on the Chiefs Alex Smith in Week 6 went on a four-minute rant about the difficulties of playing defense under current NFL rules.

Just hand us all some flags. Hand us all some flags, and we’ll go out there and try to grab the flags off. Because we’re not playing football,” he said. This is not damn football. When I was six years old watching Charles Woodson, Rod Woodson, Sean Taylor, the hitters, Jack Tatum. That’s football. This ain’t football. You have to know the risk when you sign up.

This is a combat, contact sport. There are going to be injuries. Thats just what it is. If you dont want to get injured, then dont come out here. This is for real men. This is a mans game.

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Mitchell pointed out how hits to the head are sometimes unavoidable due to the speed of the NFL. A safety can be aiming for a receivers midsection, but if the quarterback misses his target, the receiver may be forced to adjust his body or dive, leading to unintentional helmet-to-helmet contact.

The safety, however, still gets penalized, fined and suspended even though the play wasnt his fault.

Youre not intentionally trying to (hurt anyone). Youre making a football play. Thats really what it is, said Maye, whos proven himself as a big-hitter in his short NFL career. Its a football play, and however the hit comes, it comes. … I guess you get penalized for making a football move. So I dont know. Its up in the air. Its where the leagues going.

Its hard, because its a reaction. Youre trying to do your job. The object is not let the guy catch the ball, so whatever I got to do for you not to catch the ball on me, I feel like thats what I got to do. Because if I dont, then you have the advantage.

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It sucks, Maye continued. I cant change how I come downhill, I cant slow down, because if Im slowing down, the offense isnt slowing down. Its advantage offense if I got to hesitate to go make a play, because if I hesitate, that could be that step that I dont make the play. I feel like you cant change the way you play the game. You cant slow down or anything like that.

Adams agrees with Maye. At the same time, he understands the need to adjust to NFL policy.

Its really hard, Adams said. But its the rules, so we got to lower our target and we got to understand the strike zone.

You just got to change the way you tackle, man. Its simple. There aint nothing to it.