"Roy Williams Rule" on the Way

A new rule will likely be voted in by the NFL in May.

Though the NFL owners will wait on the competition committee's proposal -- known in the media as the Roy Williams Rule -- until the May 24-25 spring meetings in Washington, D.C., the general expectation is that a new rule will be put into place to prevent such tackling methods for the 2005 regular season.

The technique, made infamous last season by Williams, involves grabbing a runner from behind his neck and immediately pulling back on the shoulder pads.

The competition committee has proposed making the horse-collar a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Williams seriously injured three players with the technique in 2004. Tennessee Titans receiver Tyrone Calico injured both knees in a preseason game at Dallas on Aug. 30, requiring surgery on his left knee. Calico tried to play in one game before going on injured reserve. Ravens running back Musa Smith went on injured reserve after a Nov. 21 tackle by Williams left him with a compound fracture in his right leg that required surgery.

Eagles receiver Terrell Owens' surgically repaired right ankle and fractured fibula after a Dec. 19 tackle by Williams kept Owens out four games, including two in the postseason, over seven weeks.

It goes without saying that the Eagles are for the new rule.

"I think it definitely needed to be looked at," said Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, who lost receiver Terrell Owens for four games after a horse-collar tackle by Williams last season. "You can compare that a little bit to the facemask. If it is causing injuries, which it is, we need to make a change. If a guy can horse-collar a guy, then he probably also can tackle him around the legs."

Falcons president Rich McKay said the rule would get passed at the May meetings. "There's no question that this rule will be passed in May," said McKay, the co-chairman of the competition committee. "Although I think we had plenty of votes to get it passed (Wednesday), we had some coaches who had concerns about the language. ... But we will pass something in May, I assure you of that, with respect to this technique."

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