NFL owners have an unusually packed agenda for this set of league meetings, with kickoff rule changes, gambling and voting on a new owner all on the agenda.
The NFL’s spring owners meetings kick off in earnest on Tuesday morning, and the plate is rather full for these two days in Atlanta—a departure from what’s typically a sleepy few days of owners approving various policies with minimal media coverage. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s to come.
• Expect updates to the kickoff and replay rules. In order to make the most dangerous play in football safer, the new kickoff proposal adjusts set-up and blocking rules, and disallows a running start for the kicking team. In addition, owners will vote on a rule approving the use of replay for plays involving ejections.
• The league has been preparing for widespread gambling in recent years, and the Supreme Court decision from earlier in the month has opened the floodgates. Roger Goodell released a statement Monday urging Congress to have uniform standards across states when it comes to sports betting. Nothing related to gambling will be voted upon this week, but it will most certainly be the hottest topic of discussion among the owners.
• David Tepper will be voted in as the new owner of the Carolina Panthers. The sale won’t be finalized until July, but the hedge fund billionaire will easily get the votes from three-fourths of NFL owners who already know him as a minority owner of the Steelers.
• Arizona and New Orleans will likely be voted on as the Super Bowl sites in 2023 and ’24, respectively. Atlanta will host the Super Bowl this upcoming season, followed by South Florida, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles.
• Enacting a formal policy for the national anthem is not formally on the agenda, but given that the owners were rather divided on this topic at the last meeting in March, discussion is almost inevitable.
Yours truly and Albert Breer will have coverage for The MMQB from Atlanta.
NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King’s best MMQB column (in my humble opinion) is his final one at SI. Give it a read … Breer reports on Johnny Manziel’s Comeback Season in Canada … Conor Orr tells you why Tom Brady doesn’t have to show up for OTAs now or ever again... and more.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: I took a look at what future awaits Jerry Richardson once he no longer owns the Panthers … Orr reacts to last week’s news that the Cleveland Browns will be featured on Hard Knocks this season ... Jenny Vrentas on why Anthony Lynn finally getting his degree was important for him, his family and his players … and more.
1. Mark Bradley of the AJC writes all this hand-wringing over Julio Jones’s absence from OTAs and disappearing social media will be for nothing if he’s ready for the season-opener against the Eagles.
2. Alvin Kamara is fine with whatever role he has to take on with Mark Ingram’s four-game suspension looming to start the season.
3. CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco gives us the top 10 players poised for a breakout season, with Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley at the top of the list.
4. Giants cornerback Eli Apple admits he was embarrassed by the events of his 2017 season and hopes to turn it around this year. I have a feeling GM Dave Gettleman has Apple on a short leash this season.
5. Former NFL defensive end Da’Quan Bowers is retiring from professional football, according to the Edmonton Eskimos. The former second-round pick hasn’t played in the NFL since 2015.
6. On the topic of retirement, Junior Galette posted over the weekend that he’s contemplating hanging them up despite having three deals “currently on the table.” He was a sack machine for the Saints until he tore each of his Achilles’ tendons in consecutive seasons.
7. Joe Buscaglia at 7ABC is beginning his Top 20 Talents series for the Buffalo Bills. He kicks it off with linebacker Lorenzo Alexander at No. 20.
8. Congratulations to ESPN’s Jemele Hill for being named the NABJ’s Journalist of the Year. What a great honor for Hill to receive the award in her hometown of Detroit in August.
9. The NFL will not punish the Lions or Matt Patricia for any potential discipline regarding an alleged sexual assault in 1996.
10. The Washington Post has an interesting feature on a figure who’s made his way to the front of the sports scene in recent years: PFT Commenter.
Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.
Our friend at NBC, Mike Florio, reported Monday morning that NFL teams viewed Colin Kaepernick as a starting quarterback, according to internal documents obtained during Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit. It’s exactly what many of us have known for more than a year, but it’s good to have in the open and should do away with any comments to the contrary.
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