Skip to content

Five rules changes get NFL owners’ approval at league meeting


The NFL’s owners voted to change five NFL rules, while also voting down three proposals and tabling five proposals until next year. Here are the results of the votes on rules changes, bylaw changes and resolution changes brought forward by the NFL Competition Committee:

Rule change proposals:

1. Move the kickoff to the 40-yard line. FAILED

2. Expand instant replay to include personal foul penalties. FAILED

3. Eliminate overtime in the preseason. TABLED

4. Extend the uprights to make them five feet taller. PASSED

5. Move the line of scrimmage for one-point extra point kicks to the defensive team’s 25-yard line. Two-point conversion attempts would still be snapped from the 2-yard line. TABLED. (League will experiment with longer extra points in the preseason.)

6. Put six cameras on all boundary lines — sideline, goal line, end line, to guarantee coverage for replay reviews. TABLED

7. Permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision, except scoring plays which are automatically reviewed. FAILED

8. Protect players from getting the sides of their legs rolled up on — the rule already says a blocker can’t hit an opponent in the back of the legs, this proposal will add “or side” to the rule. PASSED

9. Allow the referee to consult with members of the NFL officiating department during replay reviews. The referee would be able to speak with the command center in New York to help in reviewing a play. PASSED

10. Re-organize the rules about what can be reviewed and what cannot be reviewed, including making the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play reviewable. (This is referred to as the NaVorro Bowman rule, after a controversial call in the NFC Championship Game.) PASSED

11. Don’t stop the clock on a sack. PASSED

12. Modify pass interference so that it can be called within one yard of the line of scrimmage. TABLED

13. Enforce defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage from the previous spot, rather than from the end of the run or from the spot of the foul. PASSED

Bylaw proposals:

1. Raise the number of active players on game day from 46 to 49 for regular-season games played on a day other than Sunday or Monday, excluding Week One. TABLED

2. Raise the practice squad limit from eight players to 10 players. TABLED

3. Permit clubs to trade players prior to the start of the league year. TABLED

4. Eliminate the cut-down to 75 players during training camp and instead just have one cut-down from 90 players to 53 players. FAILED

5. Permit more than one player to return to the active list from injured reserve so that any player on injured reserve could return after six weeks. FAILED

6. Permit each club to time and test up to 10 draft-eligible players at its facility, and allow any club that wishes to attend timing and testing at another team’s facility. TABLED

7. Adjust the time of the roster reduction from 53 after the fourth preseason game from 6 p.m. Eastern to 4 p.m. Eastern. All teams would have to have their list of final cuts in by 4 p.m. PASSED

Resolution proposal:

1. Permit a home team with a retractable roof to open or close its roof at halftime, instead of having to determine at the start of the game whether it is open or closed. TABLED

Permalink 68 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Features, Rumor Mill, Top Stories

Lucky Whitehead’s agent: He wouldn’t accept a return to the Cowboys

Getty Images

David Rich, the agent for former Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead, says Whitehead is so upset that he was cut after being wrongfully accused of shoplifting that he now wouldn’t return to the Cowboys even if they wanted him back.

Asked this morning on PFT Live whether Whitehead would come back if the Cowboys asked him to, Rich answered, “No.” Rich explained that while Whitehead loved his experience in Dallas, he’s hurt that the Cowboys didn’t believe him when he explained that the report of his arrest was false. Even when the police confirmed that they arrested another man who had given them Whitehead’s name, the Cowboys wouldn’t backtrack on their decision to let him go.

“I can’t speak for Lucky, we’d have to have a conversation about it because he loved being a Cowboy so much. I can’t put into words — this dude loved it, loved it as much as I’ve ever had a player love an organization. Loved it,” Rich said. “This guy was arguably the most popular player on the team, which is interesting to have this happen to him, but I don’t think so. . . . They basically sat across the table, eye to eye, man to man, and he said, ‘I need you to believe me, coach.’ And they said, ‘We think you’re a liar.'”

Rich said he can understand why the Cowboys felt that they had to take a stand when the report came out that Whitehead was arrested, but once they were able to document through travel records that Whitehead was more than 1,000 miles away at the time of his alleged shoplifting arrest, the Cowboys should have reconsidered. But Rich also said he thinks the decision to cut Whitehead was at least as much about on-field issues as off-field issues.

“I think they’d already moved on from Lucky. I think they had already decided it was too much of a distraction, I think they drafted Ryan Switzer . . . who does a lot of the things Lucky does, so they just decided he was unnecessary,” Rich said.

As for whether Whitehead will get claimed on waivers today, Rich said, “I can’t see why any team with a 90-man roster right now that needs return help wouldn’t pick him up.”

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Saints add a few new guys to the mix as camp approaches


The Saints are churning the last few spots on the roster leading into training camp, with more moves to come.

According to Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Saints have signed veteran offensive lineman Martin Wallace and defensive back Dejaun Butler, in addition to the previously reported offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli.

Their camp starts Thursday, and they’ll need to make some corresponding transactions by then, or once these become official.

Wallace has been with seven teams since entering the league as an undrafted rookie, playing in a grand total of one game — for the Browns in 2013. He’s versatile, which should help considering the injuries they’ve already stacked up on their line (Terron Armstead, Max Unger, and Senio Kelemete are headed for the PUP list).

Butler, an undrafted rookie corner from Hawaii, worked out for them during rookie minicamp.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Vikings rookie Ifeadi Odenigbo hurt foot on swimming pool gate

Getty Images

The Vikings were without the services of quarterback Taylor Heinicke for a good chunk of last season while he recovered from a foot injury he suffered while trying to kick in a locked door before training camp.

That means Heinicke can empathize with rookie defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo even if Odenigbo’s own off-field foot injury wasn’t quite as serious. Odenigbo, a seventh-round pick, suffered a deep cut to his foot when he caught it on a loose piece of metal on the gate of the swimming pool at the Eden Prairie hotel that housed players during Vikings OTAs.

“The gate closed on me, and it had some chipped metal and it went right into my heel, so that was my Achilles’ heel,’’ Odenigbo said, via the Pioneer Press. “It was a freak accident. When I was going (through the gate), it just nicked my heel and blood was gushing everywhere. It was a big, deep cut. There was too much skin ripped off for me to have stitches. It was pretty gross. … It was like a fishing rod went into my skin and you yanked the skin out.”

Odenigbo was able to participate in the final practices of the spring, although he said he wasn’t able to wear cleats as a result of the injury and that it “still hurts to put pressure” on the injured foot. That could set him back as he tries to make the team and the back-to-back foot injuries may have other Vikings players watching where they step a little more closely in the future.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Chiefs make front office moves with Brett Veach installed as G.M.

Getty Images

The Chiefs shook up their front office in late June when they fired John Dorsey as their General Manager and promoted Brett Veach to fill the position.

On Tuesday, the team announced some other changes to the personnel department. At the top of the list was naming Mike Borgonzi as the director of player personnel.

The Chiefs described the move as a promotion, although it appears to be a modification as much as anything. Borgonzi and Veach were co-directors of player personnel before Veach was promoted to G.M., so he should be up to speed on things related to his new title.

The team also hired Michael Davis as a personnel executive and David Hinson as an area scout. Davis previously worked for the Eagles and Jets while Hinson worked for both those teams as well as the Browns, Saints and Bills.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Allen Robinson, Jags have talked about extension

Getty Images

The Jaguars signed center Brandon Linder to a lucrative, five-year extension on Monday and they may be moving on to another member of their starting offense with that deal out of the way.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson said in April that he felt he earned a contract extension based on his play over his first three years with the team and said that his agent has had conversations with the Jaguars about getting one done.

“They have [talked], but at the end of the day, that’s my agent’s job and I’ll let him do his thing and I’ll do my thing on the field,” Robinson said, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

Robinson might be in line for a bigger payday if he were to wait on an extension until he does his thing on the field during the 2017 season. The wideout’s numbers dropped from his breakout 2015 campaign and putting up something close to that season would likely leave Robinson in better negotiating position, although the flip side of that would be that getting something done now eliminates the risk of further disappointment leading the Jaguars to look somewhere else entirely.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Mike Pouncey says he got good medical news

Getty Images

When Dolphins coach Adam Gase met with the media on Tuesday, he said that the team was waiting to hear the results of center Mike Pouncey’s visit with doctors about his hip later in the day before making plans for Pouncey’s practice schedule during training camp.

It appears the results of that visit were what Pouncey and the team were hoping to hear. In a post to Instagram after Gase’s press conference, Pouncey put up a picture of himself running on the field for a game with a caption that reads “when you get the news you’ve been waiting for!!!!”

It’s not clear what that means for Pouncey’s activity level, but it would seem to make him a good bet to avoid the PUP list. Gase said that he doesn’t need to see Pouncey in the preseason in order to feel comfortable putting him on the field, but added that Pouncey wants to “go through his routine for training camp.”

Pouncey also included the hashtag “16+,” which presumably references the number of games he wants to play this season. That’s a number that Pouncey has not reached since his second NFL season, something the Dolphins will likely keep in mind when they come up with a practice schedule even if Pouncey’s been given full clearance.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Mike Zimmer may let coordinator call a game in the preseason

Getty Images

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had to give up play-calling duties involuntarily last year, when he had to miss a game because of eye surgery.

This year, he’s choosing to do so during the preseason, to find out if it helps him see the game better.

According to Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Zimmer said he’ll probably let defensive coordinator George Edwards call a preseason game next month to determine if it helps him manage the overall flow of the game.

Whether as a coordinator or a head coach, Zimmer has always called defensive plays in games for the last 17 years.

“I’ll probably have [Edwards] call one in a preseason game and see how it goes,” Zimmer said. “I have not decided yet, no, totally for the season, but I think it’d be good practice in the preseason to see how it goes. See if it helps me help other areas of the game, so I’m kind of thinking that way.”

The Vikings have always had good defenses under Zimmer (ranking in the top third of the league in scoring defense each of his three seasons), but they have more global issues.

They were 3-8 down the stretch last year with a number of close losses, and Zimmer’s looking for ways to help avoid that in the future, even if it means giving away some of the authority he’s always had.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

What were the messiest NFL divorces?

Getty Images

With whatever it is that’s going on between Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, we have yet another source of NBA inspiration for the PFT Live question of the day.

What were the messiest, ugliest divorces in the NFL? (Of course, with the Lucky Whitehead situation in Dallas, we really didn’t need to swipe ideas from basketball. But what the hell.)

We’ll skip the poll question and leave it open-ended today. Put some ideas in the comments, and the best ones will be borrowed on Wednesday’s show.

Joining the broadcast will be former NFL coach Kevin Gilbride and Lucky Whitehead’s lawyer, Dave Rich. Hopefully, you’ll join us, too — at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio and then at 7:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN, or still on NBC Sports Radio. Or both.

Permalink 32 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Ron Rivera “pretty excited” about Cam Newton’s shoulder, weight


It was almost easy to miss, with the recent upheavals in Panthers camp.

But oh by the way, their former MVP quarterback who’s coming off surgery on his throwing shoulder who has missed the entire offseason appears to be OK.

Via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he was pleased with where his quarterback was, from both a shoulder rehab and physical conditioning standpoint. Rivera said Newton weighed in at 246 pounds (he was closer to 260 last year), which should help with his mobility after a rough 2016 season.

Pretty excited about where he is right now,” Rivera said. “Again, he’s been like this all offseason. He’s had a very good offseason, considering the fact he couldn’t throw. But he worked very hard, very diligently. I’m excited to see him on the field [Wednesday].”

Newton has thrown with his receivers in recent weeks, but will be limited at the start of camp after having surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff suffered in December. He began light throwing in June, and the hope is that he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season.

That would be nice, since the Panthers are fiddling with their offense this offseason, looking for ways for Newton to get the ball out of his hands quicker. Having him well enough to attempt some of those new plays should only help.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Wednesday morning one-liners

Getty Images

Veteran players on the Jets insist there will be no tanking.

Should the Bills cut DT Adolphus Washington for his recent weapons arrest?

The Dolphins are beefing up security at training camp.

Did last year’s suspension actually work in favor of Tom Brady?

The Ravens are a team under construction heading into camp.

Ex-Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins wrote a letter to Cincinnati after announcing his retirement.

And as an ex-Brown, Hawkins wrote to Cleveland as well.

Here’s what to do if you’re heading to Steelers camp.

NFL Network will have a setup at Texans camp.

Colts WR Chester Rogers is a player to keep an eye on in training camp.

Jaguars C Brandon Linder said he wanted to get his contract extension done so he could focus on training camp.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota is feeling great heading into camp.

The Broncos have announced that former head coach Gary Kubiak is returning to the team in a front office role.

Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt says he’s trying to adjust to a new playbook.

As the Chargers work out Robert Griffin III, many in Los Angeles are asking why they’re not considering Colin Kaepernick.

The Raiders hope TE Jared Cook gives them an option over the middle they didn’t have last year.

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is feeling good heading into camp.

One columnist has some tough talk for Giants WR Odell Beckham.

It’s still unclear whether Eagles WR Jordan Matthews will be on the field on Thursday.

Washington CB Josh Norman says everyone believes in QB Kirk Cousins, regardless of his contract status.

Here’s a look at the Bears’ training camp schedule.

Lions RB Theo Riddick hopes to be back soon after a wrist injury.

The Packers’ Family Night usually fills Lambeau Field for a practice.

Said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer after watching the first couple practices of training camp, “They are working hard and we have got a lot of stuff in. I think practice was pretty good yesterday.”

How much should the Falcons pay RB Devonta Freeman?

Should the Panthers be concerned about C Ryan Kalil’s shoulder?

Here’s a look at the Saints’ likely roster.

It’s unfair to expect Bucs DT Gerald McCoy to be Warren Sapp.

Cardinals LB Scooby Wright made an impressive play in training camp.

Here’s what the Rams hope to accomplish in training camp.

The 49ers’ top pick, Solomon Thomas, remains unsigned.

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett’s forthcoming book is titled, “How to Make White People Uncomfortable.”

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Sammie Coates to miss some time after knee surgery

Getty Images

The Steelers finally have Martavis Bryant back in the fold, but they will be short another receiver when camp opens.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Steelers wideout Sammie Coates will miss the start of camp after getting his knee scoped last week.

Coates apparently suffered the knee injury while training this offseason, and could return as soon as mid-August.

The 2015 third-rounder got off to a promising start last year, but injuries to his fingers and his groin derailed his progress. He needed surgery for the groin problem this offseason.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Earl Thomas not expecting to be limited for start of training camp

Getty Images

Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said he felt at around 80 percent as offseason practices were coming to a close last month. With training camp set to open for Seattle on Sunday, Thomas feels like he’s closed down the gap on the remaining 20 percent.

According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Thomas said Tuesday that he expects to be full speed for camp with the Seahawks.

“I don’t think I’ll have any limitations,” Thomas said. “The thing about camp is it’s going to put me in a lot of great situations where I can see how I will react and then I can kind of go from there.”

Thomas had not missed a single game in his first six seasons in the NFL prior to the broken leg that ended his 2016 season last November. He played in Super Bowl XLIX with a torn labrum sustained in Seattle’s NFC Championship victory over Green Bay. He missed most of the ensuing preseason while recovering from surgery.

“I’m feeling really, really good,” he said. “I’m feeling solid. That’s all I can ask for going into this part of the season. I’m excited and ready to get back out there with the guys and try to take this thing, take it all the way.”

The Seahawks are usually careful easing players returning from injuries back into work. Even if Thomas feels 100 percent, the Seahawks will likely ease back on his workload in the early days of camp. But with Thomas such a vital part of Seattle’s defense, having him ready to go for the start of camp bodes well for his recovery overall.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Agent denies report Koa Misi is retiring after being placed on IR

Getty Images

Miami Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi’s 2017 season came to an end before it could even begin as he was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.

A lingering neck injury that required surgery and brought his 2016 season after just three games led to Miami ending his 2017 season before players ever took to the practice fields for training camp.

A report by Andy Slater of WINZ  940-AM in Miami indicated that Misi has made the decision to retire from the game following Tuesday’s news. However, Misi’s agent, Kenneth Zuckerman, refutes that notion, saying that Misi isn’t retiring.

Zuckerman told the Miami Herald, and confirmed to PFT, that Misi is not retiring.

We’re all disappointed. It’s unexpected. I feel bad for him and we’ll see what the future entails,” Zuckerman told the Herald.

Slater followed it up with a tweet saying Misi had told family and close friends his intentions to retire Tuesday night.

Dolphins head coach Adam Gase told reporters that he was confident Misi would play again. He will be a free agent after the upcoming season. He is not eligible to return from injured reserve as players need to be on the initial 53-man roster in order to be eligible to return to action.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Xavier Rhodes mentor Terrell Buckley says likely Rhodes inks extension with Vikings this week

Getty Images

Xavier Rhodes believes he’s one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He may be about to sign a deal that pays him like one.

According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Rhodes’ mentor, former NFL cornerback Terrell Buckley, believes there’s a “high probability” Rhodes signs a contract extension with the Vikings this week.

“He is trying to get a couple of things squared away (with the contract),’’ Buckley said. “He wants to be there. He loves the (Vikings) organization, but obviously it’s a business.

“He’s got to make sure it makes sense to him financially. But he’s excited about it. He loves Minnesota. He loves the head coach (Mike Zimmer). He loves (defensive backs coach Jerry Gray). He’s very adamant and excited that he wants to be a Viking. He wants to play his whole career in Minnesota.’’

Rhodes made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season after recording five interceptions, 11 passes defended, 52 tackles and a forced fumble for the Vikings last year. The former first-round pick is set to enter the final year of his rookie contract with Minnesota, which is set to pay him a touch over $8 million this season.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Falcons stadium roof will remain closed, indefinitely


Last month, the roof at the new Falcons stadium successfully closed. Next month, it may stay that way for a while.

Via Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AMB Group CEO Steve Cannon said Tuesday that the roof will be closed when the stadium opens next month, and that it will remain closed “for an undetermined period of time” thereafter. Cannon blamed the inability to fully mechanize the roof on construction delays.

As a result, Cannon said the roof will be closed both for the preseason home opener on August 26 and the regular-season home opener on September 17.

That conflicts with something Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay said in May on PFT Live. At the time, McKay said the roof will be fully operational from the moment the stadium opens.

Permalink 16 Comments Feed for comments Back to top