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NFL expected to make changes to overtime and IR-return designation rules

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William Jackson III would have loved to see this in place last year.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL could be adopting several rule changes that would have significantly affected the Cincinnati Bengals in past years.

The biggest change the league is considering would be allowing two players to return from injured reserve via the IR designation to return, according to NFL.com's Judy Battista.

Previously, the rule allowed just one player to return from the list, though most teams have more than one injured player capable of returning at some point in the season.

That was the quandary Cincinnati faced last year when running back Cedric Peerman and cornerback William Jackson III were both able to come off of IR, but Peerman ended up getting the nod. That prevented Jackson from getting any regular-season snaps in his rookie season, a problem that could have been resolved had the Bengals had two IR-return spots.

It’s unclear if this change would include an alteration of when players must go on IR to be eligible for IR-return. Right now, players have to make the opening 53-man roster before going on IR in order to remain eligible to return. That forces teams like the Bengals to unnecessarily cut two extra players, like Trey Hopkins and Chykie Brown, to keep extra spots for guys like Peerman and Jackson an extra day before they go on IR.

The other big change the NFL is considering involves cutting overtime periods down from 15 to 10 minutes.

The Bengals lead the NFL in ties over the last 15 years, and all three came under Marvin Lewis’ watch. In 2008 at home vs the Eagles, in 2014 at home vs the Panthers and in 2016 vs Washington in London, the Bengals ended their games in a tie.

Had the overtime period been shortened, it’s possible that none of those games would have ended with a tie, which is a frustrating way to avoid losing. Though, this rule could actually see more games end in a tie, too.

15 minutes gives both teams ample time to go down the field and hit a field goal to extend the overtime period. Cutting it down to 10 minutes would increase the chance that only one team scores within the first 10 minutes. It also may sway teams to go for touchdowns more often on their first possession as opposed to settling for field goals.

The NFL owners are meeting on Monday in Chicago to discuss the proposed changes.