New NFL rule bans plays on which player lowers head to initiate contact

In hopes to improve player safety the NFL announced a rule change Tuesday that will ban all plays on which a player lowers his head to initiate contact with his helmet.

For us this is a pretty significant change, NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said during a news conference at the annual league meeting in Orlando. This is not situational protection. … In this, we’re basically getting to a technique that is just too dangerous for both the player doing it and the player that’s getting hit.

This has very little requirement to it. This is simply if you lower your head to initiate contact and you make contact with an opponent it’s a foul.

Playing Rule Article 8: It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. The player may be disqualified. Applies to any player anywhere on the field. The player may be disqualified.

Suarez came up again with two on in the eighth and drove a 0-1 fastball from George Kontos (0-1) over the wall in left. He finished with three hits.

Wandy Peralta (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win and Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth for his second save.

I thought they pitched really well, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. It wasn’t about our approach, it was that the pitching was really hard to hit from my perspective.

Cincinnati right-hander Sal Romano allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out one and walked one.

Machado’s five homers off Sabathia are the most he’s had against any pitcher in his career. It marked the shortest start of the young season for Sabathia. He lasted five innings and threw 84 pitches in his season debut last week at Toronto.

Sabathia, 37, was mostly healthy in spring training. He had an ankle injury that sidelined him briefly, but otherwise he made it to the regular season with no injury issues. Last season, he spent time on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring and right knee inflammation.

Drury and Wade were replaced in the sixth and ninth, respectively. According to Boone, Drury had issues with migraines and blurred vision. Wade was dealing with flu-like symptoms.

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