Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw remains on the physically unable to perform list, with a lingering foot problem. It means he can’t practice.
And yet, as pointed out by Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, Bradshaw took “a few handoffs” in practice on Sunday.
After practice, coach Chuck Pagano downplayed the situation to reporters, saying that Bradshaw is “[j]ust getting the mental reps.”
Of course, mental reps are just that. Mental. These were physical reps, given that Bradshaw actually was on the field, taking handoffs.
The Colts have been down this road before, albeit with a different regime. Five years ago, quarterback Peyton Manning, on the PUP list after offseason knee surgery, participated in a walk-through practice, which technically violated the PUP rules.
Two years ago, the 49ers came close to a violation with receiver Michael Crabtree on the PUP list. G.M. Trent Baalke apparently intervened before Crabtree’s participation in the “warm-up” phase of practice became participation in practice itself.
In some respects, it’s a no-harm, no-foul situation, since any player on the active/PUP list counts against the 90-man roster. Still, the line on this point is fairly bright.
And if simply calling participation in a walk-through practice “mental reps” keeps a team on the right side of the rule, look for more teams to do the same thing with their players who are on the physically unable to perform list.