Offensive linemen cannot receive or touch forward throws in virtually all variants of gridiron football, nor can they advance downfield in passing situations. In order to distinguish which receivers are eligible and which are not, football regulations require ineligible receivers to wear a number between 50 and 79. These players may participate in other aspects of the game except when they have the ball or are about to be handed it.
In college football, guards and centers can also play offense, including carrying the ball. They are given limited permission to do so by their association's rules. For example, under NCAA rules, guards and centers can carry the ball once in each half; they are prohibited from doing so further into the quarter.
In the NFL, only one player on the line can play both defense and offense, and that is the defensive tackle who can switch positions by standing up as a linebacker or moving inside as a defensive end. However, many teams have two starting guards who can play offense. These players often come from big-school programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, and Florida State. They are given this permission by their team's coaches who want them to help out on special teams while still playing defense in the middle of the field. There are even some coaches who prefer that their guards not play defense at all, instead opting for those players to be full-time starters on the offensive line.
In almost all versions of gridiron football, offensive linemen cannot receive or touch forward passes, nor can they advance downfield in passing situations. However, there is no rule that prohibits an offensive lineman from being caught by a receiver if he makes a mistake.
In the National Football League (NFL), this has been allowed since 1989, when Tony Bensinger of the Chicago Bears was illegally hit by Eric Dickerson while attempting to catch a pass. Since then, other players have been able to catch passes out of bounds or even return them for a touchdown. This rule was created to allow for more excitement and variety in NFL games.
In college football, most offenses include some form of direct snap within their playbook. The direct snap means that the center will take the snap from the center spot on the field instead of the quarterback. He will then hand the ball to one of his guards or tackles, depending on what type of play it is. These players are given permission to go into the open field after the ball is handed to them.
In 2014, Texas A&M freshman center Elliott Bender appeared to be injured on a punt return attempt and went out of the game. Instead of letting him return the ball, the Aggies punted the ball away from their own end zone.
On forward passes below the line, they are only permitted to block players within a yard of the line of scrimmage. They'd be called for pass interference otherwise. So it's not an ineligible man downfield, but it's the same premise. WRs may basically operate as lineman on forward throws behind (officials say within 1 yard of the line).
The NCAA permits ineligible receivers to be 3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage before the pass is delivered in college football. In both the NFL and the NCAA, the penalty is 5 yards. The NCAA makes an exemption for screen plays, allowing an ineligible player to cross the line...
The receiver's aim is to engage the defender, enter his body, turn the defender, and drive, drive, drive. Once engaged, the receiver must not be content just to keep the defender at bay. To push the defender about, he must demonstrate leg propulsion and keep his legs moving.
According rule 8-5-3c, while the ball is in the air, eligible receivers may block beyond one yard behind the line of scrimmage if neither the offensive nor defensive players can make the catch. Otherwise, according to rule 8-5-4, it constitutes offensive pass interference.
Six of the offense's eleven players are qualified receivers who can catch a forward throw. The remaining five are ineligible recipients. Once an eligible receiver has caught the ball, the linemen can go downfield to block. Every defensive player is considered an eligible receiver.
A pass is completed when caught by a player or simultaneously by players of Team B, or when such a pass is touched by, or touches B1 and then is caught by B2.
Downfield ineligible player during a throw (5 yards)- Only specific players, including as running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, are eligible for a pass during a play. A penalty will be assessed if a non-eligible player, often an offensive lineman, is more than two yards downfield on a throw play.
He can't because he's injured - Players are not permitted to return to the field after they have been injured while playing. If a player believes that he has been injured while playing, he must leave the field of play; however, he may change his mind after being examined by the team's trainer or coach. If the player decides to stay in the game despite knowing that he has been injured, he risks further injury that could end his season.
He can't because it's his time up - Players are required to come off the field when their number is called. If a player refuses to leave the field after his number is called, then a legal substitution cannot be made and the player would need to be removed from the field by physical force. However, since players can only be replaced with other players on the roster, any other player who comes onto the field in the offender's place is considered a new player and cannot be charged with anything related to the incident involving the original player. In this case, the new player would not be allowed to re-enter the game unless he brought a replacement with him on the sidelines.
When an ineligible receiver catches a ball, it is generally because the quarterback was under pressure and threw it to an offensive lineman out of desperation. The eligibility criteria only apply to forward passes. A reverse or lateral pass can be lawfully caught by any player.
That being said, it is extremely unusual for a quarterback to be able to find a receiver among his teammates. Usually, they are looking for someone else on the field to help out!
But once in a while, you will see a player take advantage of a loophole in the rules. In 1997, Jeff George threw four passes, three for touchdowns and one for a loss. All four passes were caught by guards or centers from other teams. One of the scores was thrown by a guard who had just replaced an injured teammate mid-game. Another was caught by a center after the whistle had blown to end the half. The last two TDs were scored by guards who had been substituted into the game during the first half. No penalty flags were thrown on any of these plays.
In 2014, Matt Cassel threw a touchdown pass to a lineman on Minnesota's team. The player happened to be blocking for another player on the same team, so this violation didn't affect the outcome of the game. However, since both players were from other teams, this rule was violated.