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NFL owners expected to approve injury rule change that would have affected Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski in 2016

The 32 franchise owners meet next week to discuss rule changes.

Starting next Tuesday, the NFL's 32 franchise owners will meet in Chicago to – once again – discuss all things National Football League. Among the topics on the agenda is voting on rule change proposals still on the table after the last round of meetings, which took place in Phoenix two months ago.

One of the proposals is changing the injured reserve rules – and according to NFL Network's Judy Battista it is expected to be approved:

At league meeting next week, NFL owners will vote on proposal to allow a second player to come off IR in season. Likely to be approved.

The present set of injured reserve rules was first introduced in 2012. Initially, teams were allowed to bring one pre-designated player back onto the active roster. Last offseason, the rule was modified so that teams no longer had to name their return player when putting him on injured reserve. Expanding the current rules would give teams even more flexibility, especially when it comes to managing intermediate-term injuries.

This change to the injured reserve would have greatly affected the Patriots in 2016 and would have allowed the team to bring back Rob Gronkowski for the playoffs. The Patriots used their “designated to return” option on QB Jacoby Brissett and were unable to bring back Gronkowski for a postseason push, even though the All Pro tight end was expected to be healed in time for the Super Bowl. The Patriots needed the open roster spot and placed Gronkowski on the injured reserve, ending his season.

If this rule had been in place for 2016, the Patriots would have been able to activate Gronkowski at the end of the regular season and have him up to speed in time for the Super Bowl.

Furthermore, also reported by Judy Battista, the NFL owners are also expected to approve a rule change altering overtime:

NFL owners are also expected to approve the proposal that was previously tabled to reduce regular season OT from 15 to 10 minutes.

The natural fear when it comes to shortening overtime from 15 to 10 minutes is that it would result in more ties. However, of the 14 overtime games that took place during the 2016 NFL season, only four would have had a different result if overtime ended after 10 minutes. Still, the rule change will likely be more controversial than the one regarding injured reserve.