NEW YORK (AP) — Cincinnati Bengals executive Katie Blackburn has become the first woman appointed to the NFL's powerful competition committee, which plays a major role in rules changes.

Blackburn, the executive vice president of the Bengals, is the franchise's fourth member of the committee. Team founder Paul Brown, his son and current owner Mike Brown, and former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis also have served on the group that makes recommendations on rules and points of emphasis to the 32 club owners.

“I don’t speak for the commissioner and his appointment of committee assignments,” said committee chairman Rick McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons, “but I must say it seems appropriate that Katie Blackburn would be the first woman appointed to the competition committee. With her grandfather coach Paul Brown and her dad Mike Brown being long-time and important members, Katie is now a third-generation member of the committee.”

The committee also is involved in revisions to league bylaws.

Other team executives on the competition committee are its chairman Dolphins general manager Chris Grier; Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones; Ravens executive vice president Ozzie Newsome; and Giants owner John Mara. Coaches on the committee are Frank Reich of Indianapolis, Ron Rivera of Washington, Mike Tomlin of Pittsburgh, and Mike Vrabel of Tennessee.


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