(AP) NFL to study hits to knees; rule change possible
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
The NFL will keep a close eye on hits to the knees of defenseless players this season, with the possibility of extending the rules protecting such players.
If the league’s competition committee finds enough evidence this season that hits to the knees are “becoming a problem,” it could take action, chief of football operations Ray Anderson told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The committee could make a recommendation to the owners next March to prohibit direct hits to the knees of defenseless players. The owners would then vote on such a change.
Currently, hits to the head and neck of defenseless players are outlawed. But two direct hits to the knee in preseason games that injured Miami tight end Dustin Keller and Minnesota defensive tackle Kevin Williams have drawn complaints from some players.
Keller is out for the season with several torn knee ligaments. Williams has a hyperextended knee.
Anderson said the league will monitor plays during the year, study the data when the competition committee begins meeting after the season and see whether such hits to the knees are an “aberration or becoming a problem.”