ATLANTA -- The NFL made thigh and knee pads mandatory equipment for the 2013 season, something the players' union was not pleased with.
Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee, said Tuesday at an owners meeting that because this is a playing rule, the league can apply it unilaterally.
"We have a vote of the membership and can implement," McKay said. "Some of us felt we were remiss that we took it out of the rule book -- high school and college makes it mandatory -- and in our mind that is how it should be and will be in 2013.
"We have some work to do with the union."
McKay said the league will meet with NFL Players Association representatives on the issue. But the NFLPA argued that the move should be negotiated.
"Any change in working conditions is a collectively bargained issue," the union said in a statement. "While the NFL is focused on one element of health and safety today, the NFLPA believes that health and safety requires a comprehensive approach and commitment. We are engaged in and monitor many different issues, such as players' access to medical records, prescription usage and the situation with professional football's first responders, NFL referees."
The owners also voted to move the trading deadline from after Week 6 to after Week 8, and to allow one "marquee" player placed on injured reserve to return to practice after the sixth week of the schedule and to the lineup after the eighth week. That player must be on the 53-man roster after the final preseason cut.
Goodell said the league is closer to a decision on what to do with the Pro Bowl, which he called "not a competitive game" last January. He wants more discussions with the players about how to improve the quality of the game, but dropping it entirely still is possible.
McCoy to fight for job
BEREA, Ohio -- Browns quarterback Colt McCoy plans to fight for his starting job.
Although rookie Brandon Weeden, who was drafted by Cleveland in the first round, is expected to start this season, McCoy said the Browns have told him he will have a chance to compete and "if it's a fair competition, that's all you can ask for."
McCoy says he did not ask the Browns to trade him and stressed his goal is to "make it about the Cleveland Browns being a good football team."