INDIANAPOLIS — Representatives of the NFL Players Association told the league’s competition committee here Wednesday that there should be a ban on defensive players leaping over the line of scrimmage to attempt to block field goal attempts or extra points.
“The jumping over on the field goal, I think, is just leading to a really dangerous play for everybody,” said Eric Winston, the veteran offensive lineman who serves as the NFLPA’s president. “If you jump over the center, the jumper is in a really bad spot. He can land on his head. I think the guys that are getting jumped over are going to end up getting hurt, with those guys landing on them. So I’ll be very interested to see what they’ll do there. I think something probably needs to be done.”
The players expressed that view to the competition committee during a meeting Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine, Winston said.
“That was something we expressed. . . . [It’s] just becoming a really, really dangerous play and now especially because everyone’s on the lookout for it, right?” Winston said. “So someone’s ankles are going to get clipped. They’re going to go ass over teakettle, and either someone’s going to get landed on or he’s going to fall on his head. And they’re really bad injuries, too. It’s not like, ‘Oh, he could sprain his ankle.’ Those are neck injuries. Those are bad knee injuries. We expressed that to them, and I hope they follow through on that.”
The competition committee seemed receptive to the message delivered by the NFLPA representatives about that play, Winston said.
“I think they’re probably on board with that,” he said.
Under current rules, it is a penalty for a defensive player to leap over the line of scrimmage on a field goal try or extra point only if he lands on an offensive player. A successful leap over the line of scrimmage is legal.
A defensive player cannot, under NFL rules, line up across from the snapper at the line of scrimmage, however.
Winston said it perhaps should remain legal for a player to leap over the line of scrimmage on a kick from outside the tight end position. But such leaps should not be legal in the interior of the line, he said.
The leaps-on-kicks play was among a variety of safety-related topics addressed during Wednesday’s meeting, according to Winston. Representatives of the NFLPA meet annually with the competition committee at the combine.
“I think the game’s in a good place,” Winston said. “We’re trying to make it as safe as possible. We’re looking at different ways to do it, obviously still trying to get launching and other stuff out.”