The Chicago Bears Did An Odd Thing In Their First Preseason Game
Considering that they possess one of the NFL's best kick returners in Devin Hester, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Chicago Bears were unhappy with the NFL's decision to move kickoffs up five yards this season. The new rule decreases the number of kick returns (and injuries on said kick returns) in a game, but also reduces the impact that returners like Hester can have.
So, in an interesting instance of passive-aggression, the Bears briefly ignored the new rule over the weekend.
In Saturday night's preseason opener, Chicago opted twice to kick off from the 30-yard line, and not the newly required 35-yard line, thus giving the Buffalo Bills the opportunity to return kickoffs that they might otherwise have been forced to touch back.
Predictably, the NFL wasn't a fan of the Bears refusal to kick off from the 35. Their vice president of officiating, Carl Johnson, called Soldier Field and politely informed the Bears to knock it off.
To add insult to injury (or injury to insult?), a Bears defensive lineman was hurt on Chicago's first kickoff from the 30.
It will be interesting to see if the Bears -- who are believed to be one of the six teams to have voted against the rule change -- continue to find ways to protest. We doubt it. A known stickler for things like "the rules," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is likely to make sure the Bears don't pull a similar stunt in the future.
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