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NFL pulls plug on customized face masks

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Robert Mathis (USA Today Sports Images)

The National Football League is pulling the plug on elaborate, customized face masks that several prominent NFL defensive players had planned to wear this season.

In an email to the Associated Press, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that the customized mask that Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis had been wearing during training camp would not be approved for use during games.

The only exception the league makes for the use of customized face masks is for medical reasons. Mathis confirmed the ruling on his Twitter page.

In addition to Mathis, Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett had planned to wear a customized mask, which he unveiled at his team's FanFest in June. Dockett's mask had six horizontal bars and one vertical in the middle that divides a whopping 18 diagonal bars, nine on each side of the vertical bar. The model, which was created by Bad-Ass Masks, was called the "Freight Train".

New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck began wearing a mask with 12 diagonal bars and five horizontal bars last summer. Tuck began wearing that mask to prevent offensive linemen from grabbing his mask and aggravating a neck strain. With Tuck dealing with a back issue during training camp, so perhaps he'll be successful in his attempt to wear it again this season.

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