Back in 1979, Jack Lambert, the fearsome, toothless middle linebacker of the famed Pittsburgh Steelers “Steel Curtain’’ defense, was asked what the NFL could do to ensure the safety of quarterbacks.

“Well, it might be a good idea to put dresses on all of them, that might help a little bit,” he said.

Lambert was upset about being flagged for a late hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Sipe.

Thirty-eight years later, Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram was asked what he thought the NFL might look like in a decade or so. He told Complex this: “I think it’s going to be flag football in 10 years.’’

“If you watch football, if somebody gets hit hard, they’re going to throw a flag,’’ Ingram said. “They’re making it more of a soft sport. Football was always an aggressive contact sport and they’re trying to take that away from the game.’’ 

Ingram was upset about a $15,750 fine he was socked with five years earlier for a hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Athletes complaining that their sports are going soft is nothing new, especially from the athletes who make their living administering the hits rather than taking them.