NFL owners are in Atlanta today for a one-day spring meeting that will call for them to vote on a handful of rules changes.
Two proposals that were tabled at the owners meeting in March will now be revisited. The first calls for the league's trade deadline to be moved back from Week 6 to Week 8, a potential move that would likely generate more outside hype than actual action.
Owners will also consider another rule that would install a loophole into the injured reserve rules. The new exception, if approved, would allow teams to bring back one player from I.R. during the regular season if so desired. Back in March, Rich McKay, the chairman of the NFL's competition commitee, said the I.R. tweak would allow teams to keep a player who was seriously injured in the preseason on their active roster until the regular season begins. Players who suffer a serious injury early in the regular season would also have a chance to go on I.R. and return before season's end. The new proposal: once the player is put on injured reserve, he would be allowed to return to practice six weeks later with the chance to return to game action eight weeks after going on I.R.
Finally, a new rule proposal is being considered that would require all players to wear thigh pads and knee pads during games. If enacted, that rule would go into effect in 2013. At present, many skill players on the perimeter opt to go without thigh and knee pads so as not to inhibit their natural speed and agility. A mandate on wearing thigh and knee pads might slow the game down some.
For approval, all rule change proposals must receive support from 75 percent of owners voting.
[[[ UPDATE: The thigh and knee pad rule proposal has been approved. ]]]