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Jon Runyan, formerly on the dirtiest players list, named NFL disciplinary czar



In 2006, he was the Number 2 enforcer in the league, as ranked by his peers; a decade later he is in the Number 2 position for enforcement against the enforcers.

The NFL appointed former offensive lineman and former congressman Jon Runyan to a newly created position of vice president of policy and rules administration. Among his duties, Runyan will serve as the executive in charge of on-field discipline — namely, fines and suspensions — with the approval of the executive vice president of operations and the commissioner. This was a core responsibility of Merton Hanks, the vice president of operations and former 49ers safety, who has left his position at the league office, reportedly in a move by the NFL to make changes to the position according to Pro Football Talk.

In a 2006 survey, Sports Illustrated found Runyan’s name was mentioned second-most by his peers as the “dirtiest player” in the league, netting 6 percent of the responses. (Patriots safety Rodney Harrison was the clear front-runner with nearly one-quarter of the vote.) In Runyan’s current role, he would be responsible for determining disciplinary measures against those who emulate his former role.

In a press release issued by the league, Runyan also “will oversee club and game-related initiatives related to players … and also supervise the Uniform and Protective Equipment Inspection Program.”

The league also stated, “Runyan will work closely with various groups across the league, including the Competition Committee, Player Safety Advisory Panel, head coaches and team equipment managers.” If the position mirrors Hanks’s responsibilities, Runyon will not be involved in the officiating aspects of the Football Operations department.

In his 14-year career, Runyan was on the offensive line for the Houston/Tennessee Oilers, Titans, Eagles, and Chargers, where he played in 207 games. He was selected to the 2002 Pro Bowl, and was on the losing sideline in two Super Bowls. After retiring from football, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, representing a congressional district in southern New Jersey. In 2014, he did not run for election to a third term.

Runyan will report to Troy Vincent, the executive vice president of football operations, who was his teammate on the Eagles for four seasons. Vincent said in the release “Jon’s breadth of experience from the gridiron to the halls of Congress to the NFL offices brings a unique perspective shaped by leadership as a player and in public service. He is a welcome addition to our team as we work to advance and grow the game, and develop all football personnel and players.”

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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