Conduct Policy Could Go Into Effect Next Week
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The NFL's new conduct policy for players could be in place next week, a league spokesman said yesterday.
Greg Aiello, the NFL's vice president of public relations, said during a conference call with reporters that the issue will be discussed by Commissioner Roger Goodell and owners Tuesday at the annual league meeting in Phoenix. Aiello said it's possible that Goodell will announce the policy next week and, if so, players would be subject to its disciplinary provisions immediately.
"We believe we're developing a policy that is going to be very widely supported by the players and the clubs," Aiello said.
Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, said last week the new policy would be completed soon and would include a provision that a player with repeat criminal offenses could be suspended by the commissioner for up to one year, then would have to apply for reinstatement. Officials have said that Goodell likely will be empowered to discipline players before any legal proceedings involving them are finished. Upshaw said last week the policy also is likely to contain a provision for Goodell to sanction a team that has a significant number of offending players.
The policy does not require the approval of owners, according to Aiello.
Aiello said it's also possible the owners will determine next week the criteria by which teams will qualify for additional funds under the revenue-sharing plan approved last year.
The NFL's competition committee is to make a series of proposals to owners next week, including one that a single defensive player per club be allowed to have a radio receiver in his helmet during a game to connect him to a coach.
Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay, the co-chairman of the competition committee, said the committee also will propose to make instant replay a permanent NFL fixture and upgrade the league's replay equipment to high-definition; to move the kickoff in overtime from the 30- to the 35-yard line to offset the advantage of the team that wins the coin toss and gets the ball first; to impose a five-yard penalty on a player who throws or spikes the ball after a play that's not a touchdown; to revise the injury reporting system that now requires teams to list players as probable, questionable, doubtful or out each week beginning Wednesday and instead have clubs disclose Wednesday and Thursday whether injured players did or didn't practice, then categorize their status Friday; and to allow an assistant coach on a team that qualifies for the Super Bowl to have a second head-coaching interview with each interested club during the off week before the game.
In addition, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have proposed that all penalties except for offensive holding be subject to replay review. The San Francisco 49ers have proposed that pass interference penalties determined to be minor infractions be capped at 15 yards, and the Chicago Bears have proposed that each team's active game-day roster be increased from 45 to 47 players.
The union announced yesterday that its executive board, meeting in Hawaii, approved a rule prohibiting agents from being in contact with college players who haven't yet declared themselves eligible for the NFL draft. Upshaw said last year that he would propose such a rule in an attempt to eliminate agents from offering improper benefits.
Upshaw was unanimously re-elected for his ninth consecutive three-year term as head of the players' union yesterday.
Falcons Trade QB Schaub
The Atlanta Falcons agreed to trade quarterback Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans for a package of draft picks, an NFL source said.
The move likely will lead the Texans to release or trade quarterback David Carr, the top overall selection in the 2002 NFL draft. Schaub and the Texans were negotiating a new contract that would make the trade official, a source said. He was stuck behind Michael Vick in Atlanta after being chosen in the third round of the 2004 draft out of the University of Virginia, but was regarded by many NFL executives as worthy of being a starter.
The Texans reportedly are sending the Falcons second-round choices in each of the next two drafts and the teams are exchanging first-round picks next month; the Falcons now will select eighth and the Texans 10th.