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Football: NFL owners pass player safety amendments

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By Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — NFL owners got their major on-field business out of the way quickly Tuesday, leaving them plenty of time to discuss labor strategy.

The 32 owners voted unanimously to approve rules amendments for player safety that include eliminating a player launching himself into a defenseless opponent. A 15-yard penalty will result for anyone who leaves both feet before contact to spring forward and upward into an opponent and delivers a blow to the helmet with any part of his helmet.

Such tackles will also be subject to fines. The NFL cracked down on flagrant hits last October, ratcheting up the amount of fines and threatening suspensions. No players were suspended in 2010 for such hits, but Ray Anderson, the league's primary disciplinarian, has said suspensions will be considered for egregious hits this season.

The definition of a defenseless receiver has been extended. Now, a receiver who has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner even if both feet are on the ground is considered defenseless.


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