Changing catch rule a ‘process,’ says Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome
INDIANAPOLIS — Bitter divisional rivals during the season, the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are allies this offseason.
At least that is the case for Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
Newsome and Tomlin are members of the NFL Competition Committee. They are among eight coaches, general managers, club presidents and owners who have met on two occasions this winter with the task of streamlining the controversial catch rule.
The committee met three weeks ago in New York and reconvened for three days of lengthier talks this week at the NFL Combine. Their recommendation for the likely rule change will be discussed at the league’s annual meeting in late March.
“It’s still a process,” Newsome said Friday. “The catch, no-catch, we’re still in the process of trying to get proper language.”
At the height of the debate is the “surviving the ground” definition that cost the Steelers’ Jesse James a touchdown catch against the New England Patriots in December. A similar play went in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles and tight end Zach Ertz in the Super Bowl.
“What we’re trying to do with that is with the officials on the field rule, what they see in replay and what the fans see at home – and make that consistent,” Newsome said. “It’s a lot tougher to do that than it is to say.”
Newsome is entering his final season at Ravens general manager. As part of a succession plan, he will step down after the year in favor of assistant GM Eric DeCosta. Newsome will remain with the Ravens in a likely advisory role.
“It’s a little bit like when I announced my retirement when I was a player,” Newsome said. “I had decided to retire one year and was asked to come back to play another year. It’s very similar to that. You get a chance to get the pats on your back from all the people, from (the media), all of my peers, on this little journey that I’m on.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.