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Foxworth proud of safety changes

Of the numerous concessions that ownership made to the players to craft the new collective bargaining agreement, Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth said he is quite gratified with the changes in player safety.

There will be no hitting for the first three days of training camp this year. Teams can hold two practices in one day, but one has to be a light walkthrough. Players can't be on the field for more than four hours.

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During the regular season, there can only be 14 padded practices for the entirety of the season, 11 of those sessions must be held in the first 11 weeks, and teams can hold no more than two padded practices a week. Also, there must be at least four consecutive days off during the bye week, including Saturday."I think a lot of coaches aren't happy with a lot of the rules changes, but it's something that we thought was important to do, to protect our players, especially with all of the new information we've gotten about head injuries and things like that," Foxworth said. "And not only for us, I think it sets an example for college, high school and youth players about the significance of taking care of your players and protecting your guys, especially during practice. It's not going to change the aggression and violence of the games on Sundays, but it'll protect guys – and especially at those younger levels, where they don't stand to gain nearly as much as we do and they put themselves in just as much or even more risk as we do. I think us setting the example of ending two-a-days and reducing head-to-head hits during practice during the week really protects our guys, and it sets an example for the younger athletes to heed."

Foxworth said the primary impetus behind the changes was addressing the traumatic effects of concussions. With the recent passing of Baltimore Colts tight end John Mackey due to frontal temporal dementia caused by hits to the head and several former players donating their brains for research after their deaths, trying to limit the impact of head-to-head collisions has become a priority.

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"I think that will go a long way for those hits to the head," Foxworth said. "As you know, the research has shown that when you have hits to the head in closer and closer proximity [to each other], it's more dangerous and it does a lot more damage. If you get dinged in the morning and then you have to go out there [in the afternoon] and you get dinged again, there's a good chance that will have a long-term effect on you. Now, if you get dinged in the morning, at least you have 24 hours to recover. And it's not only concussions. There's evidence about the minor hits. So if we can reduce all the minor [hits] that we're all taking on a regular basis, I think that will go a long way to preventing our guys from becoming like a John Mackey or the many horror stories we've heard. And it really goes a long way to protecting our wives and families from the hardships of taking care of a fully, big, strong, able-bodied man who's losing his mind. That's really hard on them, and hopefully, we can cut down on those occurrences with these rules."

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