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NFL, players union agree on changes to on-field discipline rules

The NFL and NFL Players Association announced on Monday that they have reached agreement on changes to the on-field discipline rules that will take effect beginning with the 2010 season.

The agreement comes out of discussions that Commissioner Roger Goodell had with players and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith at the scouting combine in Indianapolis in February. The changes focus on speeding up the appeals process and avoiding situations in which players have money taken out of their checks but have to wait months for their appeals to be heard.

The changes are as follows:

» A second appeals officer, Ted Cottrell, has been named to hear appeals of on-field discipline. Cottrell will join Art Shell in hearing all appeals of on-field player discipline.

» The fees and expenses for Shell and Cottrell, jointly appointed by the league and union, will be shared equally by the NFL and the NFLPA.

» Any fine for an on-field violation that is assessed through the 13th week of the season will not be collected in advance if the player appeals (within 20 days as specified in the Collective Bargaining Agreement) and the appeal is heard within the time limits set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (within 10 days of receiving the notice of appeal).

» Any fine for an on-field violation beginning in the 14th week will be collected in full when the fine is issued.

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