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Mayhew not optimistic expanded replay will be OK'd

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Lions general manager Martin Mayhew does not expect his proposal to expand replay reviews to penalties to be added to the rulebook next week at the NFL's annual meetings in Phoenix, Ariz.

Following a devastating loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round of the playoffs last season, Mayhew and the Lions proposed a rule change that would allow teams to challenge any play in which a penalty flag is throw.

The proposal made it to the voting process for next week's meetings along with 12 others related to instant replay, and while Mayhew thinks interest in strong in updating those rules, he thinks there are still more steps to take before the league's competition committee makes any changes.

"I think what's going to happen is there will be more dialogue about ways to improve it," Mayhew said Wednesday at Michigan State's pro day. "I think that really it may even initiate with the competition committee about how they want to revamp it. Obviously, those guys have their finger on the pulse of what needs to change and what could be more efficient."

For the Lions, the inciting incident for the proposal was a picked-up pass interference call against Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens that would've given the Lions a first down in Dallas territory in the fourth quarter. Instead, the officials said there was no foul, and the Lions chose to punt to the Cowboys, who scored the game-winning touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Mayhew made a case for his proposal to the GM Advisory Committee at the NFL combine last month and said about 60 percent of the league was opposed to the change.

Among the other proposals on the agenda next week is one from the New England Patriots that a team can challenge any reviewable play and a challenge can be initiated by calling a timeout instead of using a red flag.

"I think there will be some changes that happen eventually, and we're going to be open to those things," Mayhew said. "Whenever it gets proposed, we're going to be open to supporting something we can all agree on. Clearly something needs to be changed or there wouldn't be so many suggestions on how to change it. From my standpoint, we're open to other ideas."

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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