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Sport: NFL also cracking down on ineligible player downfield infractions?

Ravens place TE Nick Boyle on IR

  Ravens place TE Nick Boyle on IR Boyle is still healing up from the knee injury he suffered in November. He also had microscopic surgery on the knee recently, but that only elongated his rehab. The good news is that Boyle is expected to return this year. The league’s short-term IR list allows for players to return after three games, and that’s a feasible timetable, per head coach John Harbaugh. “[We just want to] get his knee right, get his body right,” Harbaugh told reporters on Friday. “We expect him to be back Week 4, Week 5, somewhere in there, whenever he gets back.

To the dismay of players, coaches, fans and other observers, NFL officials routinely flagged competitors for actions deemed to be taunting of opponents during games played over the first two weeks of the 2021 season.

a close up of a green field © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk noted Thursday that former NFL referee and current NBC Sports rules analyst Terry McAulay says there have already been 14 ineligible player downfield penalties this season. To compare, there was one such occurrence of that foul over the first two weeks of the 2020 campaign.

The NFL made it clear throughout the offseason and summer that refs would look to enforce rules regarding acts of taunting during games but never publicly addressed ineligible offensive linemen blocking downfield during passing plays before September. Time will tell if the last two weeks merely produced statistical anomalies or if linemen will have to be more careful on longer-lasting passing plays moving forward.

Bills' Dion Dawkins 'not close' to full strength after COVID-19 hospitalization

  Bills' Dion Dawkins 'not close' to full strength after COVID-19 hospitalization Dion Dawkins was hospitalized for four days after developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Dawkins lost 16 pounds and might have an uphill battle to be ready by the time the Bills begin their season. “He’s not close to where he needs to be to play and help us,” McDermott said. “So he’s got a long road here. … He’s going to control what he can control, and so are we. He’s got to continue to work hard to get himself back to where he’s — I mean, this is what, going on Week 4 of training camp at this point, so he’s missed a lot of time.

Meanwhile, NFL sources said earlier this week "there are no immediate plans" for the league to lessen or cancel its crack-down on taunting, largely because multiple coaches are in favor of eliminating those types of celebrations from games:

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Baylor 'admitted to moral and ethical failings,' but avoids major NCAA penalties .
The NCAA has finally released the results of its investigation into the Baylor football program. On Wednesday, more than five years after the school fired head coach Art Briles amid a major sexual assault scandal, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions handed down its ruling. While there were violations uncovered, the NCAA panel that oversaw the case "could not conclude that Baylor violated NCAA rules when it failed to report allegations of and address sexual and interpersonal violence committed on its campus.

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