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Three safety rules approved

They may not technically have any players right now, but when they do, the owners have taken steps to ensure their safety.

Three tweaks to player safety rules were approved by the NFL owners at Tuesday morning’s spring meeting, all of them passing by a unanimous 32-0 vote.

The three changes are:

Expanded definition of “defenseless player” Added are the receiver who “has not clearly become a runner,” a kicker or punter during a return (such as Jeff Feagles who took a big hit from Jeremiah Trotter in 2004), a quarterback following a change of possession, as well as a player who takes a blindside block from an opponent "moving toward his own endline" and approaches from the back or side.

Launching rules more comprehensive They will now include players who leave both "prior to contact to spring forward and upward," and a player who "uses any part of his helmet."

Grazing helmet hits a judgment call Accidentally hitting a quarterback in the head with a glancing or grazing blow will no longer be an automatic penalty and will be left to the discretion of the officials.


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