As the NFL continues to explore what to do with the kickoff, one of the arguments against getting rid of it comes from the reality that the death of the kickoff would result in the elimination of certain specific roster spots that currently are devoted to players who specialize in special teams.
“I know [for] a fact this year that [the Jaguars] signed three guys because of their special teams play and gave them significant monies,” Jaguars special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said in a recent appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “You’re going to end up taking those guys away from it. Throughout the draft, you say, ‘Well, this guy has the ability to play special teams.’ You take those [kickoff] plays out of the game. . . .
In the NFL, every closing door opens another. The broader concern comes from ensuring that the doors will be open to full participation in football at every level. Removing or restricting or dramatically changing the so-called “most dangerous play in the game” seems to be far more important to the NFL than keeping employed those players whose skills extend only to the kickoff as currently constituted.
The NFL began a two-day player-safety summit Tuesday with owners, coaches, game officials, former players and a representative of the NFL Players Association.
The NFL ratified the safety rule five weeks ago. Everyone still is trying to figure out what type of play exactly officials will throw a flag. The most egregious violations are subject to ejection.
“That’s what I came here for,” Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn said during a break in Tuesday’s meeting, via Maske. “I want to know how the officials are going to officiate this in real speed. We’re sitting here watching all this stuff on video, and that’s easy. I’ve asked six times, ‘Can you rewind that back?’ Well, they [officials] don’t have that option on the field. I just want to see how they’re going to do it — the language and how we’re going to do this and how they’re going to officiate it when it’s full speed on the field.”