ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Emmanuel Sanders, start warming up that arm.
After NFL owners voted Tuesday at the Spring League Meeting to relax restrictions on player celebrations, Sanders' baseball pitch against Tennessee would now count as a legal touchdown celebration.
Group celebrations, using the football as a prop and celebrating on the ground are all allowed under the new rule.
Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to fans that the move would give players "more room to have fun after they make big plays."
Head Coach Vance Joseph is among those on board with the change.
"I like it," said Joseph after the Broncos wrapped up their first practice of OTAs. "It's a hard league, and scoring a touchdown is hard in this league. Let's allow them to have fun. Why not? It hurts no one.
"It can go too far sometimes, but in my opinion, it's part of the game. Players want to celebrate when they score. It's hard to score in this league."
The owners also voted to consolidate roster cut-downs into a single deadline. Previously, teams cut their 90-man preseason rosters to 75 players ahead of the fourth preseason game and then to 53 before the regular-season opener.
Under the new policy, teams will reduce their rosters from 90 to 53 after the fourth preseason game.
This additional depth should prove valuable for both role players and undrafted players looking to make a roster or practice squad, Joseph said.
Traditionally, the third preseason game has served as a dress rehearsal for the starters while the fourth preseason game provides a final opportunity for bubble players to make an impact. With the new rule in place, though, the fourth preseason game could become more competitive.
"I like it because that fourth game becomes a better game," Joseph said. "And that fourth game is always tough because you're playing some valuable players. Even though they're backup players, they're playing 55 snaps of football and playing special teams for you. So that's dangerous. You can lose a valuable player in that fourth game. But now you've got the entire roster.
"And for a young guy trying to make his way as a practice squad player, he gets one more chance to actually get game reps. Not have four or five reps, but have maybe 20-25 reps in a game. So it's good for all parties, in my opinion."
Even for those who do not make the roster, an extra game of tape could be the difference between signing with another team and a short-lived career.
"It should help guys," Joseph said. "Instead of being cut, you have a chance to go play one more NFL football game. And someone may see you. Someone may spot you and it could change your career."
Other rules approved by owners:
- The overtime period was shortened from 15 minutes to 10 minutes
- Teams may now bring two players, rather than one, back from injured reserve during the season