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Report: NFL to recommend changes to chop block rule

Brian Cushing might have an offseason win coming his way later this month.

The Houston Texans linebacker has been stomping for rule changes to protect defensive players after he was clipped from behind by New York Jets guard Matt Slauson on a block that tore Cushing's anterior cruciate ligament.

The NFL's competition committee overwhelmingly agreed to support a rule change to ban the type of peel-back blocks inside the tackle box, like the one that ended Cushing's season, USA Today Sports reported on Monday.

The nine-member committee met last week and will present its recommendations at the annual NFL owners meetings, which begin March 18 in Phoenix.

The NFL has made strides to protect players by adjusting rules and handing out fines for illegal hits. However, most of those changes favored offenses, while fines levied have been on defensive players -- Slauson was fined $10,000 for his hit on Cushing, but no flag was thrown.

The potential "Cushing rule" could be another step to make the game safer on both sides of the ball.

The report said the committee also wants to ban low, blindside blocks to defenders in pursuit of a scrambling quarterback after he has left the pocket, a play that has become a bigger concern with the proliferation of mobile quarterbacks.

While these types of blocks might not occur frequently, the NFL has an obligation to protect its players on both sides of the ball. Eliminating offensive players diving at the knees of an unseeing defender is an obvious step in the right direction.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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