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The NFL just can't get over its obsession with player discipline

Automatic ejections are the hot topic at the league's annual meetings this week. The unintended consequences can be sorted out later.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Good morning from a really fancy hotel in Boca Raton, Fla. I'm not actually staying here (because expense reports), but am now posted up for the NFL's annual meetings. This year's meetings will be focused on two things: concussions and player ejections.

The league is maybe, kinda, sorta taking a more proactive stance on the long-term health impact of head injuries following NFL executive vice president Jeff Miller's admission to Congress of a link between football and CTE, the first official acknowledgment from the league.

Rule changes are the other big item on the agenda, specifically one that would lead to an automatic ejection if a player got two unsportsmanlike conduct flags in a game. It looks like the kind of disciplinary posturing the Goodell era has been known for, or at least would like to be known for, rather than the ongoing scandals and haphazard responses.

FUN FACT: Odell Beckham Jr. wouldn't have been ejected under the NFL's proposed rule. He got flagged for unnecessary roughness, not unsportsmanlike conduct. Peter King walks through the unintended consequences of the proposed rule change that would have a player tossed after two unsportsmanlike conduct calls. Bottom line: it puts tremendous pressure on the refs. Oh, and those plays aren't reviewable.

DUMB RULE: Richard Sherman says bad NFL rules are made by "a bunch of guys who never played." Richard Sherman says Roger Goodell's idea to eject players for multiple unsportsmanlike penalties is "foolish."

CONCUSSIONS SETBACKGiants owner John Mara: "This year was a setback" on concussions. Giants owner John Mara nodded along last week when NFL senior vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller acknowledged a link between repeated concussions and CTE. And while he admitted it was a concern, Mara said he didn't view that admission during a congressional hearing as a bombshell.

ATLANTA SUPER BOWL WATCHAtlanta could lose out on a Super Bowl because of anti-gay legislation. If Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signs a controversial "religious liberty" bill into law, the NFL could shy away from making the new Atlanta stadium a Super Bowl site.

MOCK DRAFT MONDAY2016 NFL mock draft: Free agency spending sprees and new priorities. With just over a month until the start of the draft, team needs and player ranges are coming into focus, but some things still remain hazy.


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SHAQ FUShaq Lawson has everything an NFL coach could want. Now he needs the right coach. Retired defensive end Stephen White takes a closer look at the Clemson pass rusher who could be one of the first pass rushers off the board.