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NFL teams may now designate three players to return from IR following bylaw change


The NFL adopted a bylaw on Thursday that will allow teams to designate three players per season to return from injured reserve.

The previous limit was two players.

In 2019, the Broncos designated quarterback Drew Lock and wide receiver Tim Patrick to return from injured reserve. Several other players, including tight end Jake Butt and running back Theo Riddick, were not able to return because of the two-man limit.

Under the new system, teams will now be able to designate an additional player to return.

The NFL also adopted three playing rules, including a move to expand automatic replay to include scoring plays and turnovers on a permanent basis. The other two rules are to protect kickoff and punt returners under certain circumstances and to prevent teams from running off time from the clock using multiple dead-ball fouls.

Several teams ran the clock down by several minutes in the fourth quarter of games last season without ever snapping the ball. That will now be impermissible.

One proposed rule change that did not pass, however, was to implement a fourth-and-15 alternative to the onside kick. NFL owners reportedly tabled the proposal.

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