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NFL sends letters to teams concerning sideline rules

The NFL sent a letter to the 32 teams yesterday reminding them of the rules and restrictions for the bench area and sidelines.

The NFL sent a letter to the 32 teams yesterday reminding them of the rules and restrictions for the bench area and sidelines.

Ray Anderson, the league's executive vice president for football operations, emphasized the responsibilities placed on each team to appoint a "get-back coach" to ensure that players, coaches and other staff are in compliance with league rules.

The letter was sent in the wake of New York Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi being suspended indefinitely and fined $25,000 by the team for sticking out his knee and tripping Miami's Nolan Carroll in Sunday's game. Alosi subsequently acknowledged he told five inactive players to stand next to each other for a punt return, during which he tripped Carroll.

"These long-standing rules are in place for safety purposes in order to protect players and officials on the field, members of the chain crew, as well as coaches, players, and other club personnel in the bench areas," Anderson wrote.

The "get-back coach" must be aware of all sideline restrictions and will be responsible for ensuring that the team and staff are in compliance. Anderson added that "violations could subject your team and/or individuals to both in-game penalties and other disciplinary action. Flagrant violations after two warnings could result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty."


* The Vikings and Bears are saying the league may be downplaying the injury risk of a rock-hard, frozen field at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota for Monday night's game even as labor negotiations include a proposal for a longer season.

"The whole season has been talked about - player safety, player safety, player safety," Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said yesterday. "We're talking about going to 18 games. And then they're going to say, 'Hey, go play on some concrete and enjoy yourselves.' If that's the surface we have to play on, then we'll play it. But I think those things need to be addressed."

The game's expected to be played in single-digit temperatures.

"We are planning on playing here," NFL VP Eric Grubman said as dozens of workers worked nearby to clear snow and ice from the stadium. "If we can't, at that point we'll figure out what we'll do next."

* Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel was limited in practice and his availability for Sunday's game at St. Louis remained unclear. The game will be shown in St. Louis as the Rams have met NFL television requirements for the game, although a limited number of tickets remain.

* Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller has missed practice due to an exercise-related headache, putting his status for Sunday's game against the Jets (9-4) in question.

Miller sustained a concussion Dec. 5 against Baltimore, causing him to miss last week's game against Cincinnati. Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain was fined $40,000 for the helmet hit.