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alligator arms

alligator arms n.pl. in American sports, especially football, arms that are not sufficiently extended to catch a ball; generally, short arms on a player. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  • This definition is misleading. The term “alligator arms” refers to a receiver who is afraid of taking a hit while trying to catch a pass.  Because of this fear, the receiver does not extend his arms as far as he could or should.  He keeps his arms closer to his body to protect himself. The term has nothing to with the physical length of a player’s arms, so the second part of the definition is way off base.

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