30 is the new 20

With Shawn Barber on his way to Houston, I guess we can forget about the franchise's old "don't trust anyone over 30" free agent philosophy. Barber, Danny Clark, Ahman Green and Jeff Zgonina all will be 30 or over by the start of the season. LT Jordan Black is the young pup of the group at 27.

The older guys provide leadership and experience while the team carefully builds through the draft. Not every older player will pan out. When Sam Cowart signed last offseason, he was quickly penciled in as a starting middle linebacker. Injuries, age and the emergence of linebacker Demeco Ryans led to Cowart's retirement.

But it's certainly worth it to take a chance on players who are positive and productive. With such young players as Ryans, Mario Williams, Owen Daniels and the '07 draft class expected to contribute, it's important to continue to surround them with positive influences.

**Rules Talk

**San Francisco coach Mike Nolan wants pass interference penalty yardage to not necessarily be a spot-of-foul yardage punishment. I have to agree. I often think that a 40-yard pass shouldn't result in a 40-yard penalty when there's interference (especially when it's against the Texans). Too many teams try to buy calls instead of execute fine plays. College has a 15-yard rule. Maybe that's not enough, but the whole enchilada can be too much.

Next week in Scottsdale, Ariz,, overtime procedure talk once again will come up. SI.com's Peter King reports that the competition committee will discuss moving the overtime kickoff line to the 35-yard line instead of the 30 to promote touchbacks. Many people get crazy about the coin toss winner having a huge advantage in OT, but only 29 percent of those teams in league history have won the game on the first possession of overtime.

If anything needs to be changed, it could be having a coin toss at all. A caller on Sports Radio 610 suggested that the team that leads going into the half should get the ball first in OT. How about the team that scored most recently to tie the game gets the ball first in OT? There has to be a better way. I'm sure Jerome Bettis would agree.

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