NFL still mulling pass interference review options

Paolantonio: New pass interference rules still being developed (1:33)

Sal Paolantonio details some of the new pass interference rules and explains why coaches are still uncomfortable with some of their nuances. (1:33)

NFL owners granted the competition committee authority to tweak its procedures for reviewing pass interference Wednesday, an indication that the league's major offseason rule change remains under development even after teams have taken the field for spring drills.

Feedback from coaches and players has spurred the committee to consider two changes to a structure owners first approved at their March meetings.

First, it could exempt pass interference decisions from booth reviews during the final two minutes of each half, as originally proposed. Instead, the committee has discussed the possibility of extending coach's challenges into that time period for pass interference only. Otherwise, close games could be subject to multiple booth reviews and extended delays to inspect pass interference calls or non-calls.

Second, Hail Mary plays could be made exempt from challenges. The committee would have to write a formal definition of Hail Mary plays, chairman Rich McKay told reporters Tuesday.

"We really don't want our games to end on a review,'' McKay said.

Wednesday's action will allow the committee to make changes to the new rule without seeking further approval from owners. A decision is expected before the preseason begins.

Also Wednesday, owners declined to vote on a proposal from the Kansas City Chiefs that would guarantee each team a possession in postseason overtime. The current rule, which gives each team a possession unless there is a touchdown on the opening drive, will remain in effect.

McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons, said the Chiefs would resubmit the proposal next season. There's some support among owners to change the overtime rule in the postseason only, football operations chief Troy Vincent said.

On other issues:

  • The league has made safety recommendations to ban a number of drills, including the famed Oklahoma drill where two players line up directly in front of each other before colliding.

Other drills affected by this are the bull in the ring, where one player is surrounded by others and is hit by them, and half line, where a running play is conducted with half of the offensive and defensive lines.

  • Marijuana for pain management will be studied by a new committee of medical experts appointed by the league and players union as part of an effort to address player health. Marijuana is banned by the league.

"There are a lot of alternative pain medications and treatments,'' commissioner Roger Goodell said.

"Those are the types of things we want this committee to focus on. One of those is what role medical marijuana can have.''

  • Goodell said there is no timeline for the league to make a decision on potential discipline for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his pending solicitation charges.

The league will conduct its own investigation but Goodell said that no decision would be made until Kraft's case in Florida is resolved. That could drag into the 2019 regular season, as an appeal by prosecutors in the case won't be heard until Sept. 4 at the earliest. The Patriots open their Super Bowl title defense on Sept. 8.

  • Goodell said the NFL will wait to decide the status of suspended Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, who is the subject of a domestic violence investigation.

"We will not interfere with that,'' Goodell said. "We will obviously be cooperative with whatever the court wants. We are prepared to have an interview whenever we have the permission to do so, and then we'll make a determination.''

The Associated Press contributed to this report.