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NFL shares guide about hits, fines

NEW YORK — The NFL wants everyone to know what it told players months ago about illegal hits and how the disciplinary process works.

The league released an 11-page guide that details some rules and includes black-and-white drawings of players delivering hits that aren't allowed. That information was included in the 2010 League Policies for Players manual, distributed to players and coaches at the start of training camp.

The league has repeatedly pointed out that its recent stepped-up fines and threats of suspensions after a series of helmet hits were not changes in rules but rather stricter enforcement of existing rules.

Asked why the league distributed this information Tuesday, spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail: "Because fans and media have been discussing these rules quite a bit in the past few weeks."

The guidelines given to players and coaches include a section titled, "Clarifications of hits on defenseless players and roughing the passer fouls."

And there are various reminders, such as:

• "Discipline may be imposed for a first offense and without prior warning."

• Punishment isn't limited to plays where penalties are called during games, and this sentence is in bold type: "If a postgame review establishes an egregious violation, particularly involving safety-related issues such as hits on the quarterback, the offender may be subject to suspension."

• Game officials unsure of whether to throw a flag on a particular play, the guide reads, "should lean toward player safety and call the foul."

The NFL outlined the punishment and appeals process for fines and suspensions, noting that system is outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. Discipline is based on a review of every play by the NFL officiating department.

Player appeals are ruled on by Hall of Fame player Art Shell and Ted Cottrell, both former coaches. They are appointed and paid by the NFL and NFLPA.

Longer season talk: Commissioner Roger Goodell said the union made its counter proposal to the owners' plan for an 18-game season, but he did not elaborate. The next meeting between the NFL Players Association and owners is set for December in Dallas.

Bengals: Tight end Chase Coffman was promoted from the practice squad, and tight end J.P. Foschi was cut.

Colts: Safety Bob Sanders (biceps) and receiver Austin Collie (concussion) won't play against the Bengals on Sunday, and cornerback Deshea Townsend and running back Andre Brown were cut.

Cowboys: Defensive end Marcus Spears (left calf strain) will miss the next 4-6 weeks, reported.

Falcons: Tight end Justin Peele is out for Thursday's game against the Ravens. Center Todd McClure (knee), quarterback Chris Redman (no injury), linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (knee) and receiver Roddy White (knee) did not practice.

Giants: Center Adam Koets (torn ACL) went on season-ending injured reserve, and offensive lineman Kevin Boothe was activated off the physically unable to perform list. Koets and long snapper Zak DeOssie signed two-year contract extensions. Receiver Sinorice Moss was waived from injured reserve.

Jaguars: Offensive tackle Adam Terry and cornerback Terrence Wheatley were signed, and quarterback Todd Bouman, defensive tackle Landon Cohen and offensive tackle Erik Pears were cut. Receiver John Matthews was activated from the practice squad.

Jets: Prosecutors say they are discussing a possible plea deal in receiver Braylon Edwards' drunken-driving case. Edwards, who was pulled over in September, said nothing during a brief appearance in a Manhattan court and is due back in court Jan. 11.

Lions: Kicker Dave Rayner was signed to fill in for Jason Hanson (right knee), and cornerback Jonathan Wade and center Cody Wallace were released.

Panthers: Tackle Jeff Otah (knee) went on season-ending injured reserve. Running back Andre Brown was claimed off waivers from the Colts, and running back Josh Vaughan and linebacker Abdul Hodge re-signed.

Ravens: Safety Tom Zbikowski (foot) missed practice ahead of Thursday's game at Atlanta.

Steelers: Left tackle Max Starks was to meet with doctors to determine if he needs neck surgery, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Safety Will Allen and running backs Mewelde Moore and Isaac Redman sustained concussions during Monday night's win over the Bengals and must pass post-concussion tests before being cleared to play.

Titans: Defensive tackle Marques Douglas was added to the roster, and defensive tackle Amon Gordon was waived.

NFL shares guide about hits, fines 11/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 9:53pm]
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