Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Sports

NFL to review challenge rule

NEW YORK — The rule that negated using instant replay to overrule a Texans touchdown "may be too harsh," will be re-examined immediately and could be changed this season, NFL director of football operations Ray Anderson said Friday.

"Not being able to review a play in this situation may be too harsh and an unintended consequence of trying to prevent coaches from throwing their challenge flag for strategic purposes in situations that are not subject to a coaches' challenge," Anderson said in a statement released by the league,

Anderson said the NFL is not bound by past events when a rule is proved to have loopholes and a 15-yard penalty for throwing the challenge flag on a play that is automatically reviewed might be enough. For now, throwing the challenge flag also eliminates the use of replay. All scoring plays otherwise are reviewed.

Justin Forsett's third-quarter 81-yard run Thursday for Houston initially was ruled a touchdown. Replays showed his knee and elbow touched the turf. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz challenged, resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the negated use of instant replay.

Anderson said getting the calls right is paramount and the league might have overlooked the scenario that occurred Thursday.

Suh kick: The league said it will review Thursday's play in which Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh appeared to kick Texans quarterback Matt Schaub intentionally in the groin. Anderson called the play "out of the ordinary. … It didn't appear to be a natural football move."

Tebow hurt: Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has two broken ribs. The former Gator was hurt two weeks ago against Seattle, but initial X-rays were negative. He played three snaps Sunday against St. Louis. Tebow was active but did not play Thursday against New England. Before the game, he refused pain-killing injections. His status for the Jets' next game has not been determined.

Bounty scandal: New Orleans linebacker Jon Vilma said he is disappointed that he won't be present for testimony given by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former assistant Mike Cerullo. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue is scheduled to hear from Cerullo on Thursday and Williams on Friday morning, both in Washington. But the Saints play the Falcons on Thursday.

Bears: Coach Lovie Smith hopes to learn today if quarterback Jay Cutler can start Sunday. He sat out Monday with a concussion. If Cutler can't go, Jason Campbell will start.

Browns: Former Gator cornerback Joe Haden, who sat out last week with an oblique injury, said he is "90 percent" recovered and will play Sunday.

Chargers: Left tackle Jared Gaither went on season-ending injured reserve with a groin injury. Gaither signed a four-year, $24.5 million deal in March but played in only four games (starting all of them). He missed almost all of training camp and the first three games with a back injury. He injured his groin against the Saints on Oct. 7 and played only two games afterward. Asked if he was happy with Gaither's work ethic, coach Norv Turner said, "It is what it is. There's not really a lot left to be said about it."

49ers: Coach Jim Harbaugh said he expects quarterback Alex Smith, who sat out Monday with a concussion, to be medically cleared by today. But Harbaugh denied Thursday's espn.com report that he has decided Colin Kaepernick will start Sunday.

Steelers: Safety Troy Polamalu, who has played only five quarters this season due to a strained right calf, practiced for the first time in seven weeks. He's doubtful to play Sunday.

Blackout: The Bengals' home game against the Raiders won't air in Cincinnati, their second straight blackout.

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