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NFL considering new rule to protect defensive players

A new NFL rule could help prevent knee injuries in defensive players. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images) A new NFL rule could help prevent knee injuries in defensive players. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The NFL is considering adding two words to an existing rule, which would protect defensive players' knees.

Currently, the rule is that a player cannot block an opponent in the back of the legs. The proposed change would add the words "or side" to the rule, which would prevent unexpected side blocks and save defensive players from getting their knees blown out.

The rule, considered long overdue, would force offensive players to raise their targets and hit a defensive player's midsection, not their knees.

Knee injuries are a big concern among NFL players, according to a recent USA Today Sports survey. The survey asked 293 players on 20 NFL teams what body part they were most concerned about injuring in a game, and found that 46% said knees or other parts of their legs -- only 24% said they were more concerned about injuries to the head and neck.

Owners will vote on the proposed rule change at next week's league meeting.

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