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NFL officials may be more tolerant of player celebrations

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) pretends

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) pretends to take photos of Victor Cruz (80) dancing in the end zone after Cruz caught a pass for a touchdown in the second half of a game agains the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. Credit: AP / Michael Ainsworth

INDIANAPOLIS — Pretending to take a picture can be an expensive proposition in the NFL, but the league is considering a move to lighten up on seemingly harmless celebrations like the ones that cost Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and linebacker Owa Odighizuwa last season.

Beckham mimicked taking a photo of Victor Cruz after Cruz scored a late touchdown in the Giants’ regular-season opener in Dallas and Odighizuwa pretended to take a shot of Landon Collins scoring a touchdown off an interception return against the Rams in London, and both were fined for their celebrations. The league prohibits choreographed celebrations, and those actions fell into that category, but the league’s competition committee may recommend lightening up those and similar demonstrations.

“We’re trying to draw a line between not being the ‘No Fun League’ and not getting too excessive,” said Giants president and co-owner John Mara, a member of the competition committee. “It’s hard because players are creative as hell. They always come up with these new celebrations. What we’re trying to do is draw the line — as long as it’s done fairly quickly and it’s not offensive, we’re probably going to let it go. But if it’s prolonged or offensive, or a violent gesture, then that’s going to get flagged.”

Mara added that “there’s a lot of discussion about the snow angel, whether to keep that in. Some of the northern teams want that to be kept in there.” Under current rules, a player can’t go to the ground to celebrate a touchdown, so making a snow angel can be flagged as a penalty.

Mara said the committee reviewed several instances of player celebrations, and admitted that Beckham’s “picture was on there a few times.” He also said there were “a lot of Antonio Brown clips in there, too,” referring to the Steelers’ flamboyant receiver.

“When we meet with the NCAA, they’re like, ‘What are you guys doing? We have this well under control. There are no celebrations,’ ” said Mara, referring to the college football rules prohibiting celebrations. “You allow these things to happen.”

Mara said the committee will most likely make any alterations to the celebration rules a “point of emphasis” and will show clips of celebrations that might be allowed in future seasons.

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