NFL players will be required to wear knee and thigh pads starting in the 2013 season, after the league’s owners voted on the rule change today.
In announcing the vote, Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay said union input is still needed, according to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal. Some players have complained that leg pads slow them down, and the owners agreed to drop a proposal to require hip pads as well out of respect for those players’ opinions. Now the league has the next year to discuss the specifications of the mandatory knee and thigh pads with the union, as many players will surely want to wear the smallest, thinnest, lightest pads they’re allowed.
Troy Vincent (pictured), the former NFL defensive back who is now the NFL’s head of player services, didn’t wear leg pads during his playing days but said players will learn to adapt and ultimately be safer for the new rule.
But at the players’ request, that safety measure won’t start for another year.