One of the rule changes NFL owners will consider next week at the league’s annual meeting might feel personal to Ravens fans.

The league’s competition committee has proposed making the hip-drop tackle technique that left Ravens tight end Mark Andrews injured last season illegal. Under the proposed rule, a hip-drop tackle would result in a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down.

It’s a proposal some within the Ravens locker room oppose, as does the NFLPA, due to the lack of clarity surrounding the definition of a hip-drop tackle.

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The new proposal attempts to define the hip-drop tackle, a task the NFL struggled with at last year’s October meeting. Here, the proposal described it as a two-step move. It would be a foul if the defender “(a) grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and (b) unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner’s leg(s) at or below the knee.”

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Last year, the chairman of the competition committee, Rich McKay, described it as when “the defender is encircling tackling the runner and then swinging their weight and falling on the side of their leg, which is their ankle or their knee.” The committee pushed for a ban then, without gaining traction. Instead, members began gathering data for a study on whether it should be banned.

Andrews missed seven weeks after being tackled by Cincinnati’s Logan Wilson on Nov. 16. He returned for the AFC championship game loss to the Chiefs, making two catches for 15 yards.

After the Bengals game, coach John Harbaugh questioned the necessity of the hip-drop tackle. Several Ravens defensive players defended the technique, though, and Andrews later said he had no issue with Wilson.

Wilson used the move twice in that Week 11 game, once to bring Andrews down and once to tackle quarterback Lamar Jackson. Andrews suffered an ankle injury. Jackson went to the sidelines following the play but returned to the game. Previously, the hip drop had injured some prominent players across the league, and two days later it took out Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis, effectively ending his and his team’s season.

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Days later, at least one member of the competition committee began pushing for an immediate ban, an anonymous source told USA Today. However, when asked, Harbaugh refused to share his thoughts on the possibility of a ban, saying “no one cares” about his opinion and that it is in “good hands” of those who make the decisions.

“The competition committee talks about those things, and if they decide to do something it would be for good reason,” Harbaugh said Nov. 20. “Whatever they decide to do, at whatever point in time, you just abide by it, and you say, ‘Hey, it’s what’s best.’ Then, in the offseason, I’m sure there will be a debate and it will be voted on and all that.”

The offseason is now, and the time for that debate is coming.

There are 10 proposals to change rules this year, four presented by individual clubs and six by the committee. For a rule change to be adopted, 75% (24) of the owners must vote for it to pass.

Following Andrews’ injury, Ravens players explained why they are against a potential ban.

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Players don’t go into a tackle planning to make it a hip-drop tackle, they explained. The Ravens don’t teach players to use hip-drop tackles, but they happen sometimes — especially when a smaller player has to bring down a larger player. The defensive players also worried about the unclear definition of the tackle and asked how they’re supposed to play if so many types of tackles are being banned.

“The hip drop, I feel like you can’t necessarily [avoid it] because you don’t know exactly what’s gonna happen,” safety Kyle Hamilton said. “You’re trying to get them down by any means necessary. I mean, if it happens that way, it happens that way. I don’t think anybody means anything malicious by it.”

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