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March 15, 2013

Crunch Time

No more tuck rule

It was a long time coming, but the NFL may finally be ridding itself of the dreadful tuck rule.

A new rule that has been proposed suggests that if a quarterback is pump faking the ball and it is knocked out of his hands before he tucks it into his body it is a fumble. Under the current rule it would be an incomplete pass.

The Patriots rode the tuck rule past the Oakland Raiders in a 2002 Divisional Playoff game and ultimately won the Super Bowl. The Raiders cried foul but the rule was correctly interpreted.

The tuck rule is a bad rule designed to eliminate a grey area in a game that’s full of gray areas. It’s about time the NFL does the right thing and gets rid of the rule once and for all.

The NFL is also looking to eliminate the rule that penalizes coaches for illegal challenges. This rule drew controversy on Thanksgiving Day this past season when Lions head coach Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag to protest a touchdown run where the player was clearly down by contact. The rule, however, states that if a coach throws a challenge flag on a touchdown or turnover - plays that are automatically reviewed - the team can no longer challenge the play and a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is assessed.

The league is looking for a way to eliminate this rule, another wrong that the NFL is looking to right.

Jones visits Pats

A day after signing Danny Amendola to a five year contract, the Patriots appear to be in the market for another wide receiver.

Bills wide receiver Donald Jones paid a visit to Foxborough on Thursday to meet with Patriots officials. Jones, 25, has played three seasons in the league, all with the Bills. Last season was a career year for Jones with 43 receptions, 443 yards and four touchdowns.

Jones torched the Patriots in two games last year with 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one in each game.

Running back and kick returner Leon Washington, who most recently played with the Seahawks, reached a deal with the Patriots on Thursday. Washington will be used as the team’s kick and punt returner and will be an upgrade for New England in both spots.

—Compiled by Nick Curcuru

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