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NFL Rule Changes: Knee/Thigh Pads in 2013, New IR Rule

According to reports, the NFL owners voted to make knee and thigh pads mandatory, starting in the 2013 season. The NFLPA issued a statement on Tuesday to indicate that they did not approve of the rule change, and it would not be a surprise if they tried to challenge it.

The owners also approved two other rule changes, both of which will likely receive the necessary approval vote from the NFLPA. The first one involves the trade deadline, which would see the league deadline moved from Week 6 to Week 8 in 2012. The second one involves the injured reserve roster exemption, which would allow a player to go on injured reserve early in the season (and not count toward the 53-man roster), allowing them to return later in the year. Could that rule apply to defensive tackle Phil Taylor? That is a bit unclear at this point.

Some reports suggest that the rule could benefit a player like Terrell Suggs or Taylor. On Tuesday, even Browns head coach Pat Shurmur indicated that the rule might be advantageous to the Taylor situation:

(On if Phil Taylor could be a candidate for the new rule regarding bringing players off injured reserve)- "I would say based on how I understand that rule, he would be a candidate for that depending on where he is at in his recovery process when we have to make that decision. Phil is doing fine. I have seen him around. He is recovering."

Other reports suggested that the rule would be for in-season injuries, and that the physically unable to perform list would still be used for players like Suggs and Taylor. Either way, the injured reserve and trade deadline rule changes seem fine to me.