Kickoff changes could include eliminating running start

NFL kickoffs and special teams appear on track to have a different look in 2018.

With safety in mind, potential changes include the likely elimination of the two-man wedge and running start for the kicking team, while allowing only three deep players on the receiving team, NFL Network's Judy Battista reported Wednesday from the league's player safety meeting in New York.

Rich McKay, who serves as the chair of the competition committee, "strongly believes" the changes when combined with the league's new rule focusing on helmet hits will reduce the risk of concussions during kickoffs, Battista reported.

Battista further points out that the committee hopes the proposed changes will remove the high-impact and dangerous hits out of the game.

The meeting drew input from special teams coaches, some head coaches and league officials.

The competition committee still has to finalize writing the changes to the kickoff rule, but it should be accomplished in time for the owners to vote on the proposal during the Spring League Meeting, which will be held in Atlanta on May 21-23.

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