NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday notified all 32 teams that increased discipline -- including possible first-offense suspension-- will be imposed on players that author illegal hits to the head or neck of an opposing player.
Goodell sent a memo to each team, which was accompanied by a message and video to players and coaches. The head coach has been instructed to show the video and read the message to his team as quickly as possible. The video includes examples of both legal and illegal hits under current NFL rules.
"One of our most important priorities is protecting our players from needless injury," Goodell said. "In recent years, we have emphasized minimizing contact to the head and neck, especially where a defenseless player is involved. It is clear to me that further action is required to emphasize the importance of teaching safe and controlled techniques, and of playing within the rules. It is incumbent on all of us to support the rules we have in place to protect players."
Here is the message that will be read by each coach to his team:
TO NFL PLAYERS AND COACHES:
One of our highest priorities is player safety. We all know that football is a tough game that includes hard contact. But that carries with it an obligation to do all that we can to protect all players from unnecessary injury caused by dangerous techniques from those who play outside the rules.
The video shown today shows what kind of hits are against the rules, but also makes clear that you can play a hard, physical game within the rules.
Violations of the playing rules that unreasonably put the safety of another player in jeopardy have no place in the game, and that is especially true in the case of hits to the head and neck. Accordingly, from this point forward, you should be clear on the following points:
1. Players are expected to play within the rules. Those who do not will face increased discipline, including suspensions, starting with the first offense.
2. Coaches are expected to teach playing within the rules. Failure to do so will subject both the coach and the employing club to discipline.
3. Game officials have been directed to emphasize protecting players from illegal and dangerous hits, and particularly from hits to the head and neck. In appropriate cases, they have the authority to eject players from a game.
For more Patriots news visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
Patriots LB, Jerod Mayo, talks about the high praise he's been receiving from coach Belichick, trying to forget about last year, and what the team hopes from the defense.
Patriots WR, Danny Amendola, joined the show for a bit to talk about his health, the evolution of the playbook, and the heated battles between the offense and defense.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Wednesday's Patriots practice, which featured Brandon Browner getting into it with Kenbrell Thompkins and a couple others.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Rob and Alex talk with John Farrell about all the moves the Red Sox made at the deadline, what they gave up and what they gained.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are in and talking about all the moves made by the Red Sox at the trade deadline, because the most fun thing about the day is talking about the moves of the day. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington held a press conference talking about the Red Sox moves, and Rob and Alex talk with Red Sox manager John Farrell about the moves made at the deadline.
Former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes reacts to the news that he, along with Jon Lester, have been traded to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
The top stories of the day as recounted by John Dennis.
John, Gerry and Meter react to the breaking news of Jon Lester being dealt to the A's.
ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes gave us the latest on the Lester trade talks.
Lou goes through the 5 stages of grief, then John Lackey gets traded to the Cardinals.
Lou, Christian, and Tim react to the news that Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes have been traded to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes. Lou hates the deal the move, especially because Cespedes is not arbitration eligible.
Former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes joins MFB to react to the news he has been traded along with Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes
Biggest trade deadline day in recent memory for the Boston Red Sox... and not in a good way. We discuss it all as the news happens and take your reactions.
We tackle four topics, all surrounding the four worst Sox trade deadline deals in recent memory.
As news looms about a possible Jon Lester trade, we sit down with the skipper of your Sox live from Fenway park.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.
Sam and Zach discuss changing the format of the Podcast, the Chris Archer-David Ortiz debacle, and LeBron James being a super genius
Particularly in a year where the Red Sox have struggled while trying to integrate numerous young players into regular big league roles, accusations that Red Sox prospects are overrated -- whether by the team or writers -- have been widespread. Jim Callis of MLB.com joins the show to take stock of the matter, and to discuss the team-building impact of overrating and underrating prospects.
With the trade deadline looming, the next few days will be defined by how teams value prospects -- and their potential long-term contributions -- against big leaguers with established track records who can address immediate needs. Are prospects being valued accurately? Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller -- once one of the two key chips that sent Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins to the Tigers -- assesses the matter.
ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes gave us the latest on the Lester trade talks.More from this show
Lou goes through the 5 stages of grief, then John Lackey gets traded to the Cardinals.More from this show