NFL

NFL mulling crackdown on illegal head shots

The National Football League is mulling a crackdown on foul play that would see ejections for players who aim hits at an opponent's head, officials said Wednesday.

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Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers diving into the endzone to score on a two-yard run
JUSTIN EDMONDS AFP

The National Football League is mulling a crackdown on foul play that would see ejections for players who aim hits at an opponent's head, officials said Wednesday.

NFL Executive Vice President for Football Operations Troy Vincent said on Twitter the league was studying the move as part of an effort to eradicate head shots.

The National Football League is mulling a crackdown on foul play that would see ejections for players who aim hits at an opponent's head.

The National Football League is mulling a crackdown on foul play that would see ejections for players who aim hits at an opponent's head.

Immediate ejections a possibility

"The Committee is also exploring ways - including considering immediate ejections or suspensions - to take dangerous hits out of our game," Vincent wrote on Twitter.

"We'll communicate this to our coaches and players with video examples of flagrant hits that may result in ejection or suspension."

NFL referees already have the right to dismiss players guilty of illegal hits, but it is an option that is rarely exercised.

The NFL can also retrospectively fine players or issue suspensions, but lengthy bans are rare.

The National Football League is mulling a crackdown on foul play that would see ejections for players who aim hits at an opponent's head

The National Football League is mulling a crackdown on foul play that would see ejections for players who aim hits at an opponent's head

NFL criticism continues

The move comes after NFL officials were criticized last season for several incidents, most notably involving Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton was repeatedly struck with helmet-to-helmet hits during the Panthers' game against the Denver Broncos, but no players were ejected.

In January, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley was flattened by a sickening helmet-to-helmet hit by Steelers safety Sean Davis. Davis was hit with a penalty and a subsequent fine but was not ejected from the game.

The NFL has faced growing scrutiny in recent years linked to the issue of concussions and head trauma, with the league in 2015 agreeing a $1 billion settlement to resolve thousands of lawsuits by former players suffering from neurological problems.