ORLANDO — Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday didn't rule out expanding the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14 for the 2014 season, but he said more work needs to be done on the proposal and getting it done for the upcoming season is not the goal.
"I wouldn't rule it out (for 2014), but I wouldn't say that's the direction we're heading right now," Goodell said at a news conference at the owners meetings. "We still want to do some additional work, including talking with the players association."
The NFL and the NFL Players Association will meet April 8. Goodell said he anticipated playoff expansion being among the topics of discussion.
PAT experiment: Looking to make the extra-point kick more challenging, the Patriots proposed moving the line of scrimmage back to the 25-yard line. The league isn't ready to do that, but owners did agree to experiment with bumping the line of scrimmage back to the 20 for all games in the first two weeks of this year's preseason, essentially turning the point try into a 37-yard field goal. A two-point conversion attempt will continue to be set up on the 2. "We all feel like we need to do something," said Rams coach Jeff Fisher, a competition committee member. "We're just not quite sure what we are going to do with it yet."
RULE machinations: Three rule changes were passed at the owners meetings: The goal post uprights will be 5 feet higher to make it easier to determine whether high kicks are good; the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play can be reviewed; and the game clock will keep running after a quarterback sack outside of two minutes left in the first half and the game. Also, referees will be instructed to do a better job enforcing existing rules that prohibit taunting, Fisher said. The NCAA has asked the NFL to enforce those rules more strongly because college players often imitate pros' behavior, he said.
Kelly surgery canceled: Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly's cancer surgery set for today was canceled because the cancer is in areas "surgery cannot successfully eradicate," his wife, Jill, wrote on her Facebook page. Doctors believe chemotherapy and radiation are the best options, she wrote. Kelly, 54, was diagnosed with upper jaw cancer in June. The former University of Miami and Buffalo Bills great was declared cancer-free a few weeks later after surgery, but the cancer returned in a location that requires expertise in skull-based tumors, New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital said in a release. Kelly's doctor, Peter Constantino, said the condition is "very treatable and potentially curable."
Bears get DE Allen: The Bears agreed to a four-year contract with five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen, who will replace Julius Peppers, who signed with the Packers after being released. Allen, a free agent who spent the previous six seasons with the Vikings, will get $15.5 million guaranteed on a deal that could be worth as much as $32 million, media reports said.
Saints: The club agreed to a one-year deal with quarterback Luke McCown, 32, who was Drew Brees' backup last season and the holder on field goals, GM Mickey Loomis said. Terms were not available. McCown, a former Bucs quarterback whose older brother Josh is the current Bucs QB, is entering his 11th season.