NFL adopts rule changes for 2020 season

The NFL owners have approved three new playing rules for the 2020 season and one new bylaw proposal.

Maybe the most significant of the four changes is the bylaw change that increases the number of players a team can designate to return from injured reserve from two to three.

Last season, the Lions used one of these designations on running back Kerryon Johnson, who was placed on IR in late October after injuring his knee and returned for the final two weeks of the regular season.

The other was for rookie edge rusher Austin Bryant, who started the season on IR after being injured in training camp. He was activated off IR in November. Every team now gets one more of those designations.

The three rule changes are as follows:

  1. Making permanent the expansion of automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful or unsuccessful try attempt.​​
  2. Expanding defenseless player protection to a kickoff or punt returner who is in possession of the ball, but who has not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent.
  3. Preventing teams from manipulating the game clock by committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.​

A vote on a proposal to provide a fourth-and-15 alternative to the onside kick was tabled by the owners during Thursday's virtual meeting, the NFL Network reported.

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