NFL Announces Plans To Begin Fining Teams For Illegal Hits
The NFL will fine teams next season for an as yet to be determined number of illegal hits, the league announced this afternoon during the owners meetings in Indianapolis. The policy is still being crafted, but for the first time teams can be liable for the illegal hits, not just the players. Under Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league has worked to reduce the number of violent, concussion-inducing hits. In tandem with the announcement, the league announced three rule changes designed to prevent players from getting hit in defenseless positions, such as when a wide receiver is coming down with a catch.
The meeting is largely about the lockout, with owners getting briefed on the various options tied to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals pending decision on whether to lift the lockout. While the 8th Circuit has already strongly suggested it would overturn a lower court’s decision enjoining the lockout, the league is nonetheless preparing options in the event it must open the offseason.
Colts Owner Jim Irsay said there must be more urgency about striking a deal between the owners and players, otherwise the preseason and regular season would be affected, assuming they occur. He pegged July 4 as the day a deal must be done to save the normal preseason. While the preseason does not begin until August, the league would need a period for free agency and training camps.