NFL owners are considering a proposal where the replay assistant would be given additional responsibilities to consult with the on-field officials about a limited scope of calls. Emilee Chinn/Associated Press

NFL owners on Wednesday approved eliminating overtime in preseason games and expanded selection of jersey numbers for receivers, running backs and defensive backs.

The league also will allow on-field officials to get certain “objective information” from the replay official and designated members of the officiating department “when clear and obvious video evidence is present.”

“I know in my opinion what subjective looks like,” said Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons and longtime chairman of the powerful competition committee. “And if you get to subjective things in that booth, what is the standard? Do we re-officiate the play?

“In this case, it’s objective (information), there is a way they could assist. We have the technology, really good technology now. Let’s use that technology and try to improve. I do get nervous when it goes beyond that.”

During a virtual meeting, the 32 owners also tabled a proposal by the Philadelphia Eagles that a team be given two chances per game to retain possession after a score by converting a fourth-and-15 play from its 25-yard line. Some owners, general managers and coaches consider that too gimmicky, though they are eager to find a solution to the near-disappearance of the onside kick.

Troy Vincent, a former player who oversees league football operations, senses value in something close to the Eagles’ suggestion.

“I do believe there is some merit, maybe not the fourth-and-15, but the fans want to see the stars with the ball in their hands,” Vincent said. “I think there is something there with that option for the club to be able to get back into the game when down two scores … that could be something I see happening in the future. That is good for the player and it is also good for those watching the game.”

Owners did approve establishing a maximum number of players in the setup zone (between 10 and 25 yards from the kickoff) in hopes of enhancing onside kick opportunities. Defending teams will be limited to nine players in that zone.

“Special teams (committee) suggested a maximum number of people in the setup zone, and for one year only we’ll try that and see what that does to the onside kick numbers,” McKay said.

Also approved were ensuring enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successive extra-point attempts, and adding a loss of down for a second forward pass thrown from behind the line of scrimmage, and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line.

McKay said a point of emphasis this year will be cracking down on taunting on the field. The league found too many potential incidents in 2020.

Increasing available numbers was a matter of necessity, Vincent and McKay explained. With 16 practice players, some of whom can be active on game day, plus retired numbers, teams found themselves in need of more options.

“Frankly, the players themselves like having the options,” Vincent said. “I know it is not what we are accustomed to seeing, someone on the line wearing a single digit, but I think it is fun.”

The league announced that its 2021 schedule, the first with a 17-game regular season, will be released May 12.

SEAHAWKS: Aldon Smith has turned himself in to authorities in Louisiana after an arrest warrant had been issued for the Seattle Seahawks defensive end.

The St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s department said Smith was booked on a second degree battery charge Tuesday night. Officials said Smith was booked and released on bond.

The sheriff’s office issued the warrant following an incident last weekend. Deputies responding to a call for medical assistance in Meraux on Saturday found a man who said he had been assaulted by an acquaintance outside a business in Chalmette, Sheriff James Pohlmann said. Detectives identified the suspect as Smith, 31, and took out a warrant.

The Seahawks said they are aware of the situation but have declined to comment further. Smith’s representatives declined to comment on Wednesday.

The incident in Louisiana took place just two days after Smith signed a one-year contract with the Seahawks.

Smith’s off-field troubles are lengthy, including police in San Francisco issuing a warrant for his arrest on a domestic violence charge in 2018, and include four full seasons out of the league due to suspensions. Smith was reinstated by the NFL last spring after signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. He had not played in the NFL since 2015.

Smith appeared in 16 games last season for Dallas and had 48 tackles and five sacks.

T.J. WARD, the walk-on at Oregon who became a key part of Denver’s famed “No Fly Zone” secondary that helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50, officially announced his retirement.

Ward played eight seasons in the NFL, earning All-Rookie team honors, two trips to the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. He last played for the Buccaneers in 2017, although he spent a month with the Cardinals last season.

49ERS: The San Francisco 49ers have signed free-agent running back Wayne Gallman Jr. to a one-year deal.

The addition of Gallman gives the 49ers another option in the backfield behind Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. before next week’s draft.

Gallman was originally drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round in 2017. He has 338 carries for 1,444 yards and nine TDs in 53 games. He also has 80 receptions for 498 yards and two touchdowns.

Gallman played 15 games last season when he led the Giants with 682 yards rushing on 147 carries with six TDs. Gallman averaged 3.63 yards per carry after contact last season, fourth best among running backs, according to Pro Football Focus.

RAMS: Cornerback Darious Williams has signed his restricted free-agent tender to return to the Los Angeles Rams.

Williams had four interceptions and 14 passes defensed last season for the Rams, and he added a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown in Los Angeles’ playoff victory at Seattle.

Williams will make $4.766 million in 2021 after his breakout season opposite All-Pro Jalen Ramsey. The former undrafted free agent from UAB has played his way into a key role with the NFL’s No. 1 defense less than three years after the Rams claimed him off waivers from Baltimore.


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