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NFL may suspend players for hits

Detroit Lions' linebacker Zack Follett is taken off the field on a stretcher after being injured on Sunday. (Associated Press)
Detroit Lions' linebacker Zack Follett is taken off the field on a stretcher after being injured on Sunday. (Associated Press)

The NFL could soon start suspending players for dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits, vice president of football operations Ray Anderson told the Associated Press on Monday.

A day after several scary collisions in Sunday’s games, Anderson acknowledged the league might need to do more than fining players to prevent such hits.

Anderson said the NFL could make changes in its approach immediately, with commissioner Roger Goodell having the final say. League officials will consult with the union, but he didn’t expect any opposition.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison sidelined two Browns players with head injuries after jarring hits on Sunday.

Anderson wouldn’t speculate on how or if any players would be punished for hits from Sunday’s games.

Lions linebacker Zack Follett has been cleared to return to Detroit after being hospitalized following a violent helmet-to-helmet hit with a New York Giants player.

The team announced that Follett was conscious and had full movement in his limbs, and that MRI and CT tests came back negative. Lions coach Jim Schwartz said it’s too early to guess how long Follett’s recovery might take before he can play again.

NFL to help with ALS

The NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to provide financial assistance to former players who have Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord, also called ALS, is being added to the “88 Plan,” which was started in 2006 to help ex-players diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The plan provides up to $88,000 a year for institutional care and up to $50,000 for home custodial care, plus costs for certain doctor care, medical equipment and medication.

The NFL says the “88 Plan” has awarded $9.7 million to 132 former players.

Quick kicks

Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson will almost certainly sit out Sunday’s game against Tennessee after he was injured and received a concussion in a collision with Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson. Robinson suffered a concussion as well. … The Green Bay Packers will put tight end Jermichael Finley on injured reserve. … The Carolina Panthers are benching rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen and turning to Matt Moore. … Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley said he kept playing after suffering a concussion in in Sunday’s game before finally removing himself from the game.