Yesterday, we reported that the NFL owners were meeting in Atlanta to vote on certain tabled issues from a previous meeting. The two issues that needed a resolution were that of a bigger window in the league's player trade deadline, as well as the issue of increased leg padding to help ensure player safety. The owners and NFLPA are at odds over these issues.
According to Sports Illustrated, the issues have been voted upon and some changes will be made to the league rules on both. One will be implemented in 2012 and the other will be enforced in 2013.Previously, a player wasn't required to wear leg padding. Most players, especially those who do extensive running (cornerbacks, running backs) didn't use knee, hip or thigh pads because of the perceived hindrance on their speed. Starting in 2013, players will be required to wear leg pads, and according to SI, any player who isn't wearing the correct padding will be sent off of the field by an official.
The NFLPA was against this move, but will have to oblige the rule passed by the owners and competition committee.
Former All-Pro safety Troy Vincent, now an NFL vice president, explained why there could be pushback from the players.
"It's psychological. Less pads you are faster, skinnier, that's just the way I was introduced to the (pro) game," he said. "It's a culture shift. They will adjust."
The other rule change has to do with roster moves. It has two interesting aspects to it: first, the league has decided that the trade deadline will be pushed back two weeks during the season until week eight. It was previously set at week six, where just last year the Bengals and Raiders struck an 11th hour deal to send Carson Palmer to Oakland. However, issues like that with Kyle Orton last year, handcuffed teams on the ability to trade a player under a short time frame and this was brought up as a point of contention in the offseason because of those scenarios.
The second change is that there is a "Marquee Injured Reserve Exemption rule", allowing a player who was placed on IR to be able to return to the team midway through the season, if they're able.
The owners also voted to move the trading deadline from after Week 6 to after Week 8, and to allow one "marquee" player placed on injured reserve to return to practice after the sixth week of the schedule and to the lineup after the eighth week. That player must be on the 53-man roster after the final preseason cut.
Terrell Suggs, the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, could fall into that category. Suggs recently underwent surgery for a torn Achilles tendon. If the Ravens believe Suggs can make it back in midseason, as the linebacker has predicted, they could use the IR special designation for him.
Bengals cornerback, Leon Hall, could also be in this category if his rehab process gets bumpy. Regardless, it's a creative rule and teams will likely enjoy the use of this new rule change. These two roster move rule changes will take place this season.