NEW YORK—In an effort to prevent unnecessary injuries to some of the game’s biggest stars, representatives for the NFL reaffirmed its commitment to player safety Wednesday by eliminating the quarterback position from starting lineups. “We expect some blowback from fans who say you can’t have football without a quarterback, but this safety measure is ultimately what’s best for the player’s health, and quarterbacks are far too valuable to risk letting them get hit on the field,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, clarifying that quarterbacks would remain on each team’s roster and retain their multimillion-dollar salaries, but would simply be banned from stepping foot on the field at any time. “All of the research suggests that the quarterback position puts athletes at serious risk, and they should not be subjected to physical contact at any time. Quarterbacks will still be the face of the team, cheering from the sidelines and consulting with coaches on play calls, but moving forward, each play will now begin with a center simply snapping the ball into an empty backfield, triggering a frantic scramble and dogpile for possession of the football.” At press time, the NFL announced a new 15-yard penalty for any team that bumps into the opposing quarterback on the sideline.
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