Owners approve three rules changes

INDIANAPOLIS – NFL owners assembled here through Wednesday got their spring meeting going by unanimously approving three rules alterations in the area of player safety.

Here are the changes:

  • Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9: Adds some definitions to defenseless player rule, including a receiver “who has not clearly become a runner. If the receiver/runner is capable of avoiding or warding off the impending contract of an opponent, he is no longer a defenseless player.” The change also now incorporates kickers/punters, quarterbacks after a change of possession, and a blindside block “when the player is moving toward his own endline and approaches the opponent from behind of from the side.”
  • Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(j): “It is an illegal launch if a player (1) leaves both fee prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent, and (2) uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/’hairline’ parts) to initiate forcible contact against any part of his opponent’s body.”
  • Rule 12, Section 2, Article 13: Hits to the head of a passer by an opponent’s hands, arms, or other parts of the body will not be fouls unless they are forcible blows.” (Rule clarification)
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