Sorry, Shea McClellin. Your signature move soon will be illegal.
The NFL owners are expected to pass a rule Tuesday banning players from leaping over the offensive line to block field goals and extra points, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
McClellin employed that tactic twice for the New England Patriots this past season, successfully blocking a field goal against the Baltimore Ravens and batting away an Atlanta Falcons extra point in Super Bowl LI but drawing a dubious penalty in the process. Jamie Collins, Kam Chancellor and Bobby Wagner also have used the move in the past.
It’s an exhilarating play but, some around the league have argued, also a dangerous one, both for the leaper and for the players being hurdled. The Philadelphia Eagles proposed the rule change ahead of this year’s NFL Annual Meeting.
“We’ve also had coaches tell us they are now coaching to defend that leaper, which can really create a real issue, a safety issue with that defender coming down and now jumping over,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said last week in a conference call, via ESPN.com. “The inevitable is going to happen, and just hearing from the players’ association, and Philly now proposing it, it’s really in the best interest of the game.”
Cincinnati Bengals tackle Eric Winston, who currently serves as president of the NFL Players Association, expressed similar concerns earlier this month in an interview with The Washington Post.
“The jumping over on the field goal, I think, is just leading to a really dangerous play for everybody,” Winston told the Post. “If you jump over the center, the jumper is in a really bad spot. He can land on his head. I think the guys that are getting jumped over are going to end up getting hurt, with those guys landing on them.
“So I’ll be very interested to see what they’ll do there. I think something probably needs to be done.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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