The NFL owners meetings in New Orleans aren't just about the current labor situation -- it's also about rule changes. The Competition Committee proposed a rule change that would move kickoffs from the 30 to the 35-yard line and it passed, according to reports.
So kickoffs will now start at the 35-yard line which likely means more touchbacks. For the NFL's purposes, that means less returns, which in turn may mean less injuries. Kickoff returns are one of the most dangerous parts of the game and player safety has been an emphasis in recent years.
According to various reports, many NFL coaches weren't too high on the proposed change because it takes away the value of the kickoff. If there are more touchbacks, there are less chances to score touchdowns or improve your field positions.
One other proposal that was being discussed was moving a touchback from the 20 to the 25-yard line. That proposal didn't make it to the owners and touchbacks will remain at the 20-yard line. Also not making it was a proposal to eliminate the two-man wedge. That will remain as well.
So the rule change means more touchbacks which means the value of a kick returner just went down. Sorry, Devin Hester.