In American football, there is such a thing as an ineligible (pass) receiver. That is, a "lineman" (center, guard, tackle) is not allowed to catch forward passes. Are they similarly prohibited from running with the ball? I can see two cases:

1) A "back" (or pass receiver) drops or fumbles the ball, a lineman picks it up and runs with it.

2) The quarterback (or runner) hands the ball to a lineman.

I see the second happening in the case of a "quarterback sneak," that is, the quarterback allows the center to keep the ball and "plunge" for short yardage. Does this mean that a runner can hand the ball to a lineman if it is convenient? Why is this not done occasionally to "mix things up" if it is allowed? Or is such "mixing things up" something rules are designed to prevent?


No, they are not prohibited from doing that.

The rule you stated applies only to forward passes. A Hand-Off is by its definition not a pass, since the ball is not advanced (forward), but handed over instead. That said, any player is eligible to take it.

Going by the following rule they are also eligible to pick up the ball from the ground.

Article 4: Legal Snap.
A snap is a backward pass. The snap must be received by a player who is not on the line at the snap, unless the ball first strikes the ground. If the ball first strikes the ground, or is muffed by an eligible backfield receiver, or quarterback under center, it can be recovered and advanced by any player.

And here is a video of a lineman scoring a TD after taking a Hand-Off.

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