How the New Kickoff and Player Safety Rules Affect the 49ers

The spring owners meetings kicked off in Atlanta on Tuesday and new rule changes are now in effect. NFL owners voted on new alignment changes and tweaks in an attempt to make kickoffs safer and still just as exciting.

Some of the recent modifications include the elimination of running starts and wedge blocks to limit full-speed collisions.

San Francisco 49ers special teams coach Richard Hightower addressed the recent changes at the team's State of the Franchise event on Wednesday.

"They can change whatever they want to change. They're changing it for 31 other teams. They've got to compete with us just like we're going to compete with them. That's the way I see it," Hightower said.

Here's a full breakdown of the new changes to kickoffs coming in 2018.

The league also addressed player safety with the "use of the helmet." Per the new league rule: "It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent." The owners approved ejection standards to go along with the new rule.

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