The NFL has issued a warning to teams, reminding them of fines, suspensions and loss of draft picks if it determines that players have faked injuries in a game.
The memo, obtained by the Associated Press, reminds all 32 teams that coaches are expected to discourage the practice, although there is no specific rule.
Discipline, according to the memo, “could include fines of coaches, players and clubs, suspensions or forfeiture of draft choices.”
The warning comes two days after speculation that Deon Grant of the New York Giants faked an injury in order to slow down the St. Louis Rams’ no-huddle offense. The Rams, according to Coach Steve Spagnuolo, complained to the league.
Full memo after the jump ...
Clubs are reminded of the following league policy which is stated in a Supplemental Note to Rule 4 (Game Timing), Section 5, Article 4, on page 19 of the Official Playing Rules:
“The Competition Committee deprecates feigning injuries, with subsequent withdrawal, to obtain a timeout without penalty. Coaches are urged to cooperate in discouraging this practice.”
The Competition Committee has reviewed this issue several times, but has been reluctant to propose a specific rule, since assessing a charged timeout for every injury timeout would deprive a team of timeouts for strategic purposes. It also could encourage injured players to remain in the game at risk to themselves to avoid incurring a charged team timeout. To avoid the necessity of a rule with many unattractive qualities, teams are strongly urged to cooperate with this policy. We have been fortunate that teams and players have consistently complied with the spirit of the rule over the years and this has not been an issue for the NFL. We are determined to take all necessary steps to ensure that it does not become an issue.
Going forward, be advised that should the league office determine that there is reasonable cause, all those suspected of being involved in faking injuries will be summoned promptly to this office in New York to discuss the matter. Those found to be violators will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action for conduct detrimental to the game. Discipline could include fines of coaches, players, and clubs, suspensions or forfeiture of draft choices.