The National Football League Players Association announced Wednesday that it will introduce new rules that will limit tackle attempts to the knees or hips and eliminate “punching knees” for tackle attempts.
The league will now allow players to attempt tackle attempts from any part of the body except the groin and face.
The rule change will allow a player to attempt a tackle from the groin, face or both, but not from the inside of the waistband.
The rules were released to NFLPA officials after an hour-long meeting at the league’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., with representatives from players, coaches and league office staff.
The league says the changes are meant to give players more time to recover from an injury, but they are expected to create confusion for fans and confuse players who aren’t well versed in the game’s intricacies.
Players said they are excited about the new rules and have been preparing for them since they were proposed last week.
“We’ve been talking about this for months and months, so I’m very excited to see these rules come out,” wide receiver Antonio Brown said.
“It’s very important for us to make sure our guys have a full recovery.
I think it’s a big thing for us, and hopefully we’ll get it into the game in the future.
The NFLPA is not ruling out a change to kickers, who were allowed to use the kick from the waistbands during the lockout last season, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
The rule change comes after several players were hurt during the 2016 season, including quarterback Sam Bradford, linebacker Johnathan Hankins and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr.
The goal of the rule change is to allow players more flexibility in the tackling process, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the league was not authorized to speak publicly.”
It will give players some more flexibility,” the source said.
The source said the league would not comment on the rule changes until after the meetings are over, although league spokesman Greg Aiello said the changes will be discussed at the end of the season.
The players’ union was set to release the rule on Wednesday, the day before the regular season began.
It was not immediately clear how the rule would be implemented during the preseason, which is typically a time when players prepare for games.
The union’s new contract with the league expires in 2019.
In a statement, the union said that it believes the new rule will help players “make informed decisions about how they approach each and every game.””
This rule change provides more certainty to the players as to how they should approach each game,” the statement said.
The NFLPA, however, noted that the rule will not affect a player’s ability to challenge for a kickoff or PAT if the kick or PAT is returned in the same game.”
In the future, we will continue to evaluate how we can ensure our players have the best chance to play on Sundays,” the union statement said, adding that the union has made improvements to the league concussion protocols in the last three years.