The owners of the NFL’s 32 teams are scheduled to consider three rule change proposals during their one-day meeting Tuesday in Atlanta.
One of those proposals would enable a player to return from the injured reserve list under some circumstances to play during the same season.
Currently, a player who is placed on IR is ineligible to play for the same team for the remainder of that season. If the rule change is approved, each team could activate one player from the IR list per season. The player could resume practicing after six weeks and would be eligible to be activated after eight weeks.
Another proposal would push back the annual NFL trade deadline by two weeks, until the Tuesday after the eighth weekend of the season.
A third proposal would require all players to wear thigh and knee pads during games. That proposal, if enacted, would not take effect until the 2013 season. The possibility of a vote on that issue was reported earlier Monday by Fox.
NFL officials have said in recent years that they were considering mandatory use of such equipment. The league has said that some players have chosen not to wear those pads on their legs during games in an effort to enhance speed and performance.
League officials have said they believe that requiring players to wear additional pads would help prevent injuries and make the sport safer. But the NFL Players Association appears skeptical in this instance, and a rule requiring players to wear thigh and knee pads might be challenged by the union.
“Whether we are talking about helmets, pads, or any other equipment, data [and] research must support changes and they can’t be made in isolation,” George Atallah, the union’s assistant executive director of external affairs, wrote Monday on Twitter.
Any rule change must be ratified by at least three-quarters of the owners.