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Steelers win one, lose one at owners meetings

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By Scott Brown
Thursday, March 29, 2012

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Steelers' overtime proposal passed Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings, but they fell short in their bid to add more protection for quarterbacks.

A proposal that would have prohibited dragging down a quarterback from behind while he is in the pocket received just four other votes. Proposed rules changes need at least 24 votes to pass.

The Steelers want to make horse-collar tackles in the pocket illegal.

As much protection as quarterbacks receive, the Steelers contend, it doesn't make sense to leave them vulnerable to getting dragged down from behind.

"I still think there's hope we'll get it passed at some point," Steelers president Art Rooney II said. "If we can get at least some members of the competition to take it seriously, then we have a chance."

The overtime rule that passed means teams getting the ball first after regulation can only win on their first possession by scoring a touchdown. That applied only to the playoffs last season.

Other moves

The owners also approved labeling a player receiving a crackback block a "defenseless" player — resulting in a 15-yard penalty — and made any play in which there is a turnover subject to review.

The Steelers were the only team to vote against the proposal involving turnovers.

"That's why we have coaches' challenges," Rooney said.

Another rule change involving instant replay — reviews would be handled in the replay booth instead of on the field — did not pass yesterday.

Meanwhile, a proposal that would give teams one injured reserve exemption a year was tabled. It will be revisited when the owners meet in May.

Steelers to NFL: No bounties here

The Steelers have given certification to the NFL that they don't have a bounty problem.

Teams have until Friday to submit in writing that their owner and head coach met about bounties and will not tolerate them.

Commissioner Roger Goodell came down hard on the New Orleans Saints for engaging in illegal bounty practices and lying about them, and punishment looms for individual players involved in the scandal.

Rooney said teams still need to talk to players about bounties even though Goodell "sent a very loud and clear message on it."

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera agreed.

"Just so the players understand that a precedent has been set and this is not to be broached again," said Rivera, a former NFL linebacker. "Any time something like this happens, it has to be brought up, the point of emphasis has to be made, and you go forward."

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