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NFL agrees to three rule changes, fourth-and-15 onside kick proposal yet to be voted on

NFL agrees to three rule changes, fourth-and-15 onside kick proposal yet to be voted on

NFL teams agreed to three rule adaptations for the 2020 season on Thursday, the league announced in a statement.

The three rule changes were as follows:

  • Scoring plays and turnovers that were negated by penalty will now automatically be reviewed.
     
  • Kickoff and punt returners are now given defenseless player protection rules should they have possession of the ball and not enough time to avoid contact of their opponent.
     
  • Teams can no longer manipulate game clock by committing multiple dead ball fouls with the clock running.

Additionally, the NFL agreed to a bylaw change that increases the number of players that can return from Injured Reserve from two to three has been approved. The NFL has yet to confirm.

However, the most fascinating proposal from the NFL's virtual owners meetings -- the 4th-and-15 onside kick proposal -- has yet to be voted on.

The proposal would allow teams to have one fourth-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line in place of an inside kick. 

Pelissero reports that owners did have an unofficial vote regarding the proposal on Thursday, by taking a show of hands, and the proposal did not have enough to pass. There has yet to be an official vote, however.

This is a developing story. We will provide more updates as they come.

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Ravens reopen training facility in Owings Mills without players and coaches

Ravens reopen training facility in Owings Mills without players and coaches

The Ravens reopened their training facility in Owings Mills, Maryland, on Tuesday under Phase I of the NFL’s process to reopen. This means that while the facility is open, players and coaches still cannot return.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan gave the green light last week that the Ravens could open their training facility and M&T Bank Stadium. 

According to the Ravens’ release, individuals returning to team facilities are mainly from the equipment crew, football video group, and the personnel department. The team is limited to a maximum of 75 people in the building at one time. Employees must wear masks and have their temperature checked before entering the building.

Phase II of the reopening process is to allow coaches, but still not players, into the facility — as long as the state allows for it. There has not been a date set for the beginning of Phase II.

For players and coaches to be in the facility at the same time, the Ravens indicated the target for the entire team to be together is for training camp, currently slated for the end of July. 

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Ron Rivera says 'it's way too early' to predict what will happen regarding the 2020 NFL season

Ron Rivera says 'it's way too early' to predict what will happen regarding the 2020 NFL season

The NFL has operated as close to business as usual as possible this offseason, still holding free agency and the draft as originally scheduled. But make no mistake, there's plenty of uncertainty surrounding the 2020 NFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A report surfaced early Tuesday morning the Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross believes that NFL games will "definitely" happen in 2020, and the only question that remains is whether fans will be in the stands or not.

Ron Rivera was asked about Ross' comments on Tuesday's edition of NBC Sports' Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico, and the head coach explained that "it's way too early for anybody to really predict what's going to happen."

However, the Redskins head coach did express optimism that the league has a much more positive outlook than it did several weeks ago, and hopes that by the time the season rolls around, they'll be good to play the 2020 campaign as scheduled.

"But if things continue to trend in the right way and we continue to develop and learn more and more about the situation and circumstances, understand what's expected of us in terms of how we have to act and behave, I think we can hopefully get ourselves back into that position," Rivera said.

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Just moments before Rivera's interview, Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson reported that head coaches could be allowed to return to their team facilities as early as next week and that there is a chance teams could hold minicamps in mid-to-late June (the NFL put out a statement in response saying they are "not putting dates" on a potential return).  

Rivera, who's entering his first season with Washington, was asked how being able to hold just one offseason in-person session prior to training camp would benefit the Redskins.

"I think it would make a great difference," Rivera said. "Again, if we can see where we are and what we have, and we can also explain to the players what we are trying to do before we start training camp. That would be very beneficial to the new coaching staff."

In the meantime, Rivera emphasized that it would be wise for everyone to follow current regulations in order to continue to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus.

"Hopefully within time, there will be enough testing," Rivera said. "Who knows when the vaccine will be found. But for the most part, we've got to continue to practice the social distancing, follow the rules from the CDC and do things the right way."

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