NFL news: Ralph Wilson passes away, NFL announces rule changes and more

Rick Stewart

Buffalo Bills owner and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ralph Wilson passed away, the NFL announced some rule changes and more from Tuesday in the NFL.

Buffalo Bills founder and owner Ralph Wilson passed away at the age of 95 on Tuesday. Wilson founded the Bills in 1959 as one of the original members of the American Football League. Wilson helped the AFL merge with the NFL in 1970 and has been one of the most influential people in football's history.

It speaks to his dedication that he only handed over control of football operations to Russ Brandon in January of 2013. Brandon is the current president and CEO of the Bills, and was the one to announce Wilson's passing Tuesday.

Wilson's team won an AFL Championship and four AFC Championships. The Bills made four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-1993, though they were unable to win in the big game. Wilson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 8, 2009. He was the last living original AFL member.

Here's what else was in the headlines Tuesday:

NFL makes rule changes

The NFL approved at least three proposed rule changes on Tuesday at the owners meetings in Orlando. The first rule increased the protection on roll-up blocks, extending protection to the sides of players' legs and not just the back. A roll-up block is when a player rolls into another player's legs. The second rule change allows officials to consult the league office during replay reviews, which should help them make better decisions. The third is a ban dunking celebrations over the crossbar. The practice caused a delay in a New Orleans Saints game last season when Jimmy Graham did it.

Kelly to undergo more cancer surgery

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly will have to undergo surgery again Thursday. He learned that his oral cancer had made a return back in March after follow-up examinations to his June 2013 surgery to remove cancerous cells from his jaw. The cancer is now spreading aggressively, necessitating another trip under the knife, according to the Associated Press.

Snyder creates 'Original Americans' foundation

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announced the formation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation on Tuesday, with a stated goal to "utilize the national platform of professional sports organizations and their partners to address the challenges in the daily lives of Native Americans based on what Tribal leaders tell us they need most."

Snyder has shown little grace navigating the PR minefield surrounding his team and its name, and it seems as though the organization is an attempted fix. In a press release, he promised to honor Native Americans through actions after he and his staff met with more than 400 tribal leaders across 20 states.

"I’ve listened. I’ve learned. And frankly, it’s heart wrenching," Snyder wrote in a letter announcing the foundation's creation. "It’s not enough to celebrate the values and heritage of Native Americans. We must do more."

Rams sign Carrington

The St. Louis Rams signed defensive lineman Alex Carrington to a contract. Carrington, formerly of the Buffalo Bills, is considered a player with a high ceiling who had the first portion of his career derailed by injuries. Carrington is a versatile defensive lineman who can start at any spot. St. Louis was considered a candidate to draft a defensive lineman early in the 2014 NFL Draft, but Carrington's signing may eliminate that scenario.

Ebron struggles during pro day

There were several interesting prospects showcasing their talents during pro days Tuesday, but tight end Eric Ebron of UNC was the biggest name. Ebron is considered by many to be a first-round pick, but he did not have a strong workout. Pro days aren't the be-all, end-all, but Tuesday's workout was a confirmation of his biggest flaws: he drops passes. Ebron does not have exceptional hands and that showed with three bad drops Tuesday, though he did reportedly look solid in other drills and sat on solid measurables from the scouting combine.

Falcons trade

The Atlanta Falcons are open to trading up in the draft, making them the first team known to be willing to do so, at least according to Adam Schefter. Thomas Dimitroff has been willing to do what it takes to go and get his man in the draft. The team traded five draft picks to acquire Julio Jones in 2011, for example. This year, it seems as though there's multiple teams willing to trade back -- primarily those teams after a quarterback, given the depth of the class.

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