NFL Notes: Tuck rule gone, Pro Bowl and Victor Cruz

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NFL Notes: Tuck rule gone, Pro Bowl and Victor Cruz
March 20, 2013, 2:15 pm
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PHOENIX -- NFL owners passed a player safety rule Wednesday barring ball carriers from using the crown of their helmets to make forcible contact with a defender in the open field.

Several coaches and team executives expressed concern about officiating the new rule, but Commissioner Roger Goodell championed it and it passed Wednesday as the owners meetings concluded.

Its passage by a 31-1 vote -- Cincinnati voted no -- was the second significant step in protecting defensive players; on Tuesday, the league took the peel-back block out of the game.

"There was a lot of discussion," Steelers President Art Rooney said of the helmet crown rule, "but the way it was presented was the most effective way to address it."

The tuck rule, one of the most criticized rules in pro football, was eliminated. Now, if a quarterback loses control of the ball before he has fully protected it after opting not to throw, it is a fumble.

Rooney said the Steelers were the only team to vote against getting rid of the tuck rule. New England and Washington abstained.

"We didn't think it was necessary to make that change," Rooney said. "We were happy with the way it's been called."

Video review now will be allowed on plays when a coach challenges even though he is not allowed to. But the coach will be penalized or lose a timeout, depending on when he threw the challenge flag.

That change stems from Houston's Thanksgiving victory over Detroit in which Lions coach Jim Schwartz challenged a touchdown run by the Texans' Justin Forsett. Although officials clearly missed Forsett being down by contact before breaking free on the 81-yard run, when Schwartz threw the red flag on a scoring play that automatically is reviewed, the referee could not go to replay.

That loophole has been eliminated.

Pro Bowl returns to Hawaii
PHOENIX -- The Pro Bowl will return to Honolulu next January and again will be played the week before the Super Bowl.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday at the owners meetings that the all-star game he once considered scrapping has been scheduled for Aloha Stadium on Jan. 26. He added that Hawaii will be included "on some sort of rotational basis" in any future Pro Bowl scheduling.

Goodell was encouraged by the level of performance in this year's game, won 62-35 by the NFC.

"They clearly made a very positive effort in the way they played the game this year," Goodell said.

He added that the system for choosing the players won't change, but some consideration has been given to having team captains select their rosters, rather than an AFC vs. NFC format.

"They have really come up with some very creative ideas," Goodell said of players and staff members he has spoken to. "One was the idea that players are selected as they have been in the past, but the teams are decided through a draft. That could be done by a captain.

"To use an example from this past year we talked about was Peyton Manning picks one team and Eli Manning picks the other team."

Team Manning the Elder vs. Team Manning the Younger, anyone?

Manning offers to help keep Cruz
NEW YORK -- Quarterback Eli Manning says he'll consider reworking his contract if it would help keep leading receiver Victor Cruz on the New York Giants.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP indicated the Giants haven't asked him to redo his contract to open cap space. Manning, who spoke at a sponsor event in New York on Wednesday, says he'll consider anything that helps the team.

The Giants recently allowed Cruz to enter restricted free agency, placing a first-round tender on the player from Paterson, N.J. However, New York has the right to match any offer he receives.

If the Giants allow him to leave, they will get a first-round draft choice as compensation. The tender is worth $2.87 million for 2012.

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