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Rule Changes For 2012

There is a good article at the official Detroit Lions website, outlining some of the rule changes coming out of the league meetings that are going on in Atlanta. While the article itself deals more with the fact that the owners voted to move the trade deadline back a couple of weeks (after week 6, to after week 8), I thought this rule amendment was much more significant.

The owners also voted to allow one “marquee” player placed on injured-reserve to return to practice after the sixth week of the schedule and to play in games after the eighth week. That player must be on the 53-man roster after the final preseason cut.

I think this is an excellent rule change. Obviously this opens the door for situations where a significant player gets hurt early in the season, but may be available later on. Instead of being put on the IR to save the valuable roster spot, now teams will at least have the option to give that player a chance to return.

In fact there are obviously many instances each season, for every NFL team, where it might have been nice to keep a player OFF the IR – hence the amendment.

Other rule changes include mandatory thigh and knee pads for 2013, and the league also extended the Bills’ international series of one regular season game a year in Toronto through 2017.

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