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NFL removes trailing requirement on 4th-and-15 proposal

The NFL already tweaked the proposed onside kick alternative rule to be voted on by owners next week.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Friday that the updated language on the proposed rule change, which would allow teams to retain possession after a score by converting a fourth-and-15 play from its own 25-yard-line, takes out the requirement the team must be trailing to employ the maneuver.

If the proposal passes, a team leading could attempt to play keep-away from an opponent by utilizing the fourth-and-15 option. It doesn't come without risk of giving the opponent the ball in scoring range.

Wiping out the prerequisite that a team must be trailing to try to keep possession is the right move. Coaches should be allowed the freedom to take calculated risks. Onside kicks don't restrict usage to trailing teams. Neither should its substitute.

The rule would still allow teams to continue to attempt onside kicks if they so choose.

NFL owners are set to discuss and vote on potential rule changes for the 2020 season during a virtual meeting on May 28.

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