There’s often a disconnect between the rule changes proposed by the Competition Committee and the rule changes ultimately adopted by 24 or more of the NFL’s owners. Hardly a rubber-stamp process, some proposals simply don’t make it.
This year, one influential owner has made it known that he supports the proposed revision to the rules regarding injured reserve.
Currently, any player who lands on IR is done for the season. The proposal would give injured players an opportunity to return in the same season.
“I think the biggest [rule change] is being able to bring back an injured player,” Kraft told reporters, via Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald. “Even the year with [Tom] Brady and the Kansas City game, he possibly could have come back at the end of that year. He actually wanted to, I remember the discussion. I think all that does is just allow us to keep the game more exciting for those teams that make it to the playoffs, it’s a great opportunity to be able to do that. I think it’s a very positive thing.”
A Rapoport points out, Brady’s desire to return in 2008 wasn’t previously known. But once Brady was placed on IR, a return was impossible. (And, as a practical matter, Brady likely wouldn’t have returned in 2008, given the complications he experienced during surgery.) And while the Patriots could have used a roster spot on Brady like the Steelers did when cornerback Rod Woodson tore an ACL in Week One of the 1995 season and returned to play in the Super Bowl, most teams choose not to burn one of the 53 active roster spots on players who may miss a large chunk of the season.
With a change to the rules, they won’t have to.