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NFL Approves Emergency QB Rule Change



Steelers QB Mason Rudolph

NFL owners have approved a bylaw to allow for a third quarterback to be active to play in games without using a spot on the game-day roster, the league announced. The change to the NFL bylaws occurred during the NFL spring meetings in Minnesota on Monday.

The measure came about after the San Francisco 49ers were forced to finish the NFC Championship Game without a healthy quarterback, following injuries to Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson. The Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco’s opponent in that game, proposed the rule change.

NFL teams have always had the ability to include three quarterbacks on their 48-man game day active rosters, but most teams have chosen not to in recent years. The change will allow the third quarterback to play, even if he is not on the active roster.

The emergency quarterback will be designated before the game and will have to be on the team’s 53-man roster. The third quarterback can only play as a result of injury to or ejection of the players ahead of him, not due to a coaches’ decision. If an injured quarterback is cleared to return, the third quarterback must be removed from the game. A player designated as an emergency quarterback cannot play any other position.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the few teams to almost always carry three quarterbacks on their active roster. Other teams have recently only had two on their 53-man roster.

The Steelers enter the 2023 season with Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky entrenched in their top two quarterback spots and Mason Rudolph hoping to hold off undrafted rookie Tanner Morgan out of Minnesota for the final slot.

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