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Ask Farmer: Discussing conversions and long-haired players

Ask Farmer: Discussing conversions and long-haired players
Seahawks quarterback Trevone Boykin flips into the end zone for a two-point conversion against the Vikings during a preseason game. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

Have a question about the NFL? Ask Times NFL writer Sam Farmer, and he will answer as many as he can online and in the Sunday editions of the newspaper throughout the season. Email questions to: sam.farmer@latimes.com.

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What happens when a team chooses to go for two points, then has a penalty and decides to kick the extra point instead? Can the team change its mind? If so, where is the ball placed for the extra point?

Alex Helmke, Minneapolis

Farmer: Yes, if there's a penalty when a team is going for a two-point conversion, that team can opt to kick instead. But the penalty will be applied to the kick. For instance, if it's an offensive holding call, the line of scrimmage on the conversion would be moved from the 2 to the 12. If the team were to try a one-point kick instead, the penalty would be applied to that, meaning the line of scrimmage would be moved from the 15 to the 25, making it a 42-yard kick.

Same goes for a defensive penalty. If the defense jumps offside on an extra-point kick, the kicking team can opt to go for two from the one-yard line (half the distance to the goal) instead of the two.

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Aren't some of those guys with the really long hair nervous that someone is going to pull it? OUCH! 

Wendy Remington, San Diego

Farmer:  Sounds like an excruciating way to get tackled, but the NFL considers any hair that falls out of the helmet as part of the uniform. That decision was made in 2003, after Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams was twice pulled to the ground by a tackler who latched on to his dreadlocks.

Kolby Listenbee, a rookie receiver for the Buffalo Bills, is recovering from hernia surgery so he has yet to play this season. He has let his hair grow and when he returns, he will be playing with long hair for the first time in his life. He plans to bundle it up in his helmet so no defender winds up with a handful of it.

"I wouldn't want my hair to get pulled," he said. "If somebody pulls my hair, I might start crying. That would hurt for real."

Then again, Listenbee has world-class speed. He ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine.

"Hopefully I'd be fast enough that nobody would be able to get ahold of my hair in the first place," he said.

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