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For Ravens, change in NFL's extra-point rule 'would be an advantage'

For Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, moving back PAT wouldn't hurt.

Matt Stover kicked in the NFL for two decades, building a reputation for his ability to make clutch field goals.

Extra points were even more automatic for the former Raven, a retired Pro Bowl kicker who connected on 591 of 594 career extra points, a 99.5 percent success rate.

The NFL wants to increase the difficulty of the extra point, and owners are expected to vote this week on a proposal to shift the attempt from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line. That would transform the extra point into the equivalent of a 33-yard field goal, and might make NFL teams more inclined to try 2-point conversions.

Twenty-four of 32 NFL owners would have to vote in favor of the proposal to enact a rule change this week during the NFL owners meetings in San Francisco.

"My full opinion as a kicker is anything that increases the value of a good kicker, I'm good with, as long as the competitive balance is there," Stover said Monday afternoon. "Getting rid of the play altogether would devalue the position.

"If you devalue the kicking position by removing an obsolete play and do away with the extra point, all you've done is increase the value for a good kicker who can make them from a longer distance. If the extra point rule, the way it currently stands, has become obsolete, then increase the difficulty. The good kickers will adjust and make the kicks."

The impetus behind the proposed change is kickers' extremely strong track record of making extra points. Over the past five seasons, according to Elias statistics, kickers have converted 99 percent of point-after atempts.

Under the proposal endorsed by the league competition committee, the 2-point conversion attempt would remain at the 2-yard line.

If the extra point is shifted to the 15-yard line and becomes the equivalent of a 33-yard field goal, there's no guarantee it would become much more difficult. There were only two missed field goals from that range last season, according to NFL statistics.

If the extra point is shifted to the 15-yard line, it's unlikely to affect the Ravens. In three NFL seasons, former Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in league history, has not missed an extra point in 110 career attempts.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't appear to be a huge proponent of making any change, but wasn't opposed to the rule proposal during the NFL owners meetings in March.

"I don't care about that one way or the other," Harbaugh told reporters. "I'm OK with it. We have a good kicker. If they want to move it back to the 15 [yard line,] it would be an advantage for us."

Harbaugh did voice his disapproval, though, of the Philadelphia Eagles' proposal of moving the two-point conversion attempt up to the 1-yard line. He cited concerns about player safety.

"I'm definitely opposed to putting the ball at the 1-yard line for the 2-point conversion," Harbaugh said. "I think that's just not a smart move. It would be a safety issue. You give a team an opportunity to run a quarterback sneak with the two tackles in there and the backs pushing in from behind, then it's not football anymore. It's rugby. I think that would be the result of it. Plus, you'd have all the pick plays from 1-yard out. That would be the play of choice."

The Eagles' proposal would allow the defense to return a fumble or an interception on a 2-point attempt or return a blocked extra point for a score.

The NFL competition committee, of which Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is a member, has proposed having the 2-point conversion at the 2-yard line and allowing the defense to return a turnover for two points. It's the same as the Eagles' proposal, with the exception of the placement of the 2-point conversion.

"The NFL puts a lot of time into potential rule changes every year," Stover said. "As long as this rewards teams that have good kickers, which it sounds like it would, then I'm not against making a change."

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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