NFL

Owners may make pads mandatory

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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He has covered the NFL for the past 18 seasons as a beat writer and is the former president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also is a frequent host on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

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BUCKHEAD, Ga.

Some NFL players have resisted wearing a complete set of pads for reasons ranging from comfort to vanity.

That decision might not be an option for long.

NFL owners are planning to vote Tuesday on a proposal that would make thigh and knee pads mandatory for all players during games starting with the 2013 season.

The rule's genesis stems from the belief that players would be afforded better protection, which falls in line with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's safety initiatives. For example, some players who suffer bruised quadriceps muscles have been found not to be wearing thigh pads.

There are those players, though, who are willing to take that risk. Some players wear no padding or just use plastic shells that offer a lesser degree of protection.

Wide receivers and cornerbacks in particular are known to shun wearing the thigh-hip-knee pad combination. While the nfl has made uniform innovations, some still consider the padding too bulky and uncomfortable at positions where high-end speed is a must.

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There also is an aesthetics issue because some players believe they will play "faster" and with more confidence if their uniform looks sleek.

Like all NFL proposals, a 75-percent vote of NFL owners (24 of 32) is needed for approval.

Other proposals under consideration tuesday at the NFL's spring meeting in Buckhead, Ga.:

* Moving the regular-season trade deadline from Week 6 to Week 8.

* Allowing one player to return from the injured reserve list during the season.

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