Alternate helmets returning to NFL in ’22 after 9-year pause

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NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL is bringing back alternate helmets in 2022, ending a nine-year hiatus that started because of concerns about player safety.

The league wrote to clubs in a memo dated Thursday that it must be notified of plans to use alternate helmets by July 31 even though they won’t be used for another year. The memo was obtained by The Associated Press.

The use of a second helmet was dropped in 2013 over concerns that wearing more than one helmet might not be safe for players. As those concerns have eased, clubs have lobbied for a second helmet because options for alternate jerseys were expanded in 2018, the league said.

The second helmet can only be worn only with so-called classic, alternate or color rush jerseys, and all players must be fitted for both helmets before training camp, the league wrote in the memo.

The primary and alternate helmets must be the same make, model and size. The alternate helmets must be worn in practice the week of the game they will be used, if not before.

The NFL began allowing throwback uniforms to commemorate its 75th season in 1994. They gained popularity through the years before the limit of one helmet made alternate uniforms less enticing because of the difficulty matching the base color of the primary helmet.

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