Should a player not have the pads on when he enters a game, he will be sent off the field by a game official.
“It’s the same as if he ran on without a helmet,” McKay said. “It is a safety rule.”
Goodell said he expects evidence in the Saints bounties case would be made public after all the player appeals and grievances have been heard. Release of any documents also could be delayed by Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against Goodell after the commissioner suspended Vilma for the entire 2012 season.
The owners also voted to move the trading deadline from after Week 6 to after Week 8, and to allow one “marquee” player placed on injured reserve to return to practice after the sixth week of the schedule and to the lineup after the eighth week. That player must be on the 53-man roster after the final preseason cut.
Terrell Suggs, the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, could fall into that category. Suggs recently underwent surgery for a torn Achilles tendon. If the Ravens believe Suggs can make it back in midseason, as the linebacker has predicted, they could use the IR special designation for him.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft likes the adjustment because he knows firsthand how devastating an injury to a star player can be.
“It’s good because I think it keeps the excitement in the game,” Kraft said. “I know when we lost Tom Brady there was a feeling he could have come back at the end of the year. It would have been great for the fans, and I think every team has someone in that category.”
Goodell said the league is closer to a decision on what to do with the Pro Bowl, which he called “not a competitive game” last January. He wants more discussions with the players about how to improve the quality of the game, but dropping it entirely still is possible.
“The issue is we recognize it is an all-star game, but we also believe fans expect more from an NFL game,” he said. “If we believe we can achieve that, we want to give them every opportunity to do that.”
Only New Orleans, site of next year’s Super Bowl, and Honolulu are being considered if the Pro Bowl is held.
The league approved the Buffalo Bills playing one regular-season game every year from 2013-17 in Toronto, extending that international series. Expansion of the international series in London could come as early as next year, Goodell added.
AP Sports Writer Charles Odum contributed to this story.