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Removal of players, suspension from future games for certain illegal acts discussed at NFL meetings

Removal of players, suspension from future games for certain illegal acts discussed at NFL meetings

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Earlier this month, there was a debate among NFL team owners at league meetings about whether hits by quarterbacks and other defenseless players should be automatically ruled out.

But that wasn’t what Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was trying to say when he stood up to make his point at meetings in Irving, Texas, two weeks ago.

Sources in the room identified Lurie as the owner who raised the issue of whether there should be ejections or suspensions in future games for illegal hits. According to sources, he did not mean that NFL must accept college footballtargeting rule.

The NFL already has a suspension mechanism for what it considers “egregious” hits. Rule 19, Section 2 of the NFL rulebook states that an official or the league’s replay center in New York may consult with on-field officials to “determine that a foul for a football or non-football act on the field is flagrant.”

There have been 10 dismissals so far this season, and only four of those have been for illegal hits on the field. Lurie’s point seems to be that the threshold for what is considered outrageous can be revised and lowered.

And that doesn’t cover the garden variety that hits the passer-by. This will be reserved for egregious actions such as blatant collaring, violent mask tugging, or violence against a defenseless defender. The thinking is that a flag and subsequent penalty is not enough punishment to eradicate dangerous behavior from the game, so sending players off or suspending them for future games may be the best way forward.

There will be no changes to the league rules this season. The league, in conjunction with the competition committee, will discuss health and safety issues in the off-season and changes could come at the annual meetings in March.

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