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One key rule change that takes effect this season bars ball carriers from using the crown of the helmet to make contact with defenders.

“We thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation,” NFL Executive Vice President Jeffrey Pash Executive Vice President Jeffrey Pash said in a statement, the only comment issued by the league. “This is an important step that builds on the significant changes we’ve made in recent years to make the game safer.”

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AP Pro Football Writers Howard Fendrich and Barry Wilner in New York and AP Sports Writer Nancy Armour in Detroit contributed to this report.