Rule change could add strategy to bringing a player back from IR

AP

A rule change passed Wednesday morning basically eliminates the injured reserve – desginated for return list but does not eliminate the rule allowing one player per team, per season to return to action from the injured reserve list.

Now, teams can simply choose a player who’s been on injured reserve for at least six weeks and activate him once he’s healthy enough to play again.

Still only one player per season may be activated from injured reserve, but the team does not need to designate that player when he’s placed on IR. In the past, if a player was hurt in the preseason or early in the regular season, teams would have decide whether to use the return designation — or, in some cases, whether to place the player on IR at all until it had a clear timetable for a potential return.

Now, teams could potentially use some strategy and gamesmanship in deciding which injured player could make a late-season comeback. Decisions could be made based on roster strength and depth, or in the case of multiple players being potentially eligible to return, waiting until the last minute before a weekly activation deadline could keep opponents guesssing. Under the old rule, the player with the IR-return designation was out at least six weeks before returning to practice and eight before he could return to game action.

The new rule was proposed by the Buffalo Bills. The original designated for return rule was passed in 2012; prior to then, any player placed on injured reserve would miss the rest of the season.

26 responses to “Rule change could add strategy to bringing a player back from IR

  1. I don’t see why they don’t let more than one player come back per season. IR should be there so that teams can fill out their rosters for a period of time when a player needs to heal from injury. Who cares if you have one or 10 come back?

    Keep the minimum time period (8 weeks before returning to game action), but let as many as needed come back. It is just stupid to allow only one.

  2. I like this rule change. in the case of the Steelers they designated Pouncey to return but he never got healthy enough to be considered. This way they could have potentially brought back Golson or Gradkowski back later in the year.

  3. IR rules in football still dont make sense to me.
    Why wouldnt the league want some of its best players to come back from injury once they are healed?
    I see no benefit on shutting them down for the season if they are able to come back.

  4. I’m sure the NFL wants to limit the number of players to return so that teams can’t try to “stash” players on IR, especially young players coming out of camp.

    But, as a fan, I want to see anyone healthy to come off IR. I also don’t like that teams often times have to place a player on IR, even if they have about an 8 week recovery window, just to free up a roster spot and add depth.

  5. I think it should be two players. It seems more get injured every year. Allowing two gives teams the option of bringing key guys back when healthy and still reduces their ability to just stash guys on IR while a decision is made on another player’s viability in their system.

  6. They have to be careful with this rule…. It COULD be used as a method to STASH players on a team that don’t count against the 53 man roster & safeguard against losing them to other teams through free agency or waivers….only allowing ONE to come back keeps teams from abusing this outlet….by not naming that player at time of designation runs the risk of teams doing just that & stashing multiple players at different positions the activating only the one they feel best meets their needs & still keeping the other players stashed away from being picked up…. Sure they have to still pay their salary but that’s a small price to pay to weaken your potential opponents needs had that player been available for pick up & use

  7. Teams should be allowed to return as many players as possible as long as they have spent the time on IR. Stashing a player on IR makes little sense in “stashing” a player because that player isn’t allowed to practice at all for at least six weeks. The team would be better off keeping them on the practice squad so they’re ready whenever.

  8. The IR rule stinks and needs be changed to allow more players to return when healthy OR the rosters need to be increased.

    There must be an average of 10 to 12 players per team that wind up on IR if not more and the injured reserve players are often front line starters being replaced on the roster if not in the lineup by street free agents (couldn’t make a team) and practice squad players. How is this current system beneficial to fans or teams?

    In addition, how does the IR rule help with player development? The team I like last year had a rookie late round pick playing well in preseason and he hurt his wrist which I doubt was season ending but it put him out of action for a while. He was placed on IR on cut down day so basically a non season ending injury set back the development of a rookie in a huge way. How is that a good thing and it is likely that something similar happens with every team every year.

  9. I think they should use something similar to MLB which has the 15 day and 60 day DL. They should do a 4 game and 8 game version of the IR with no set number of players that can go on and off the lists.

  10. I like this new change, but I don’t understand why a guy with say, a six to eight week injury early in the season can’t just come back when he’s healthy. I never liked the idea of a player having to be done for the season when it’s not really a season ending injury to begin with. The NFL should have a more liberal injury system in place .. the current system seems arcane.

  11. ill never understand footballs weird personel rules its the most dangerous sport yet unlike the other sports only 1 guy can come back after being on i.r..??????? and dont get me started on every team has 53 players and u can only dress 46???? what other sport does this nonsense if youre on a team and active not hurt u dress for gamedays im tired of the nfl saying its for players safety or best for the nfl the integrity of the shield haha they dont give a damn about players health or safety just money if they truly cared all 53 guys would be available on gameday and anyone could comeback after being on ir

  12. If multiple players are allowed to return from IR during the season, look for New England to have several hundred players listed on IR at the beginning of the season. They will use it like an enhanced practice squad.

    In reality, When a player is listed on IR, treat it like the practice squad. Let any team “raid” it to place the player on their active squad if he passes a physical. Let the team who placed him there have 12 hours to place him on their own active roster.

  13. siriusred67 says:
    Mar 23, 2016 11:55 AM
    Teams should be allowed to return as many players as possible as long as they have spent the time on IR. Stashing a player on IR makes little sense in “stashing” a player because that player isn’t allowed to practice at all for at least six weeks. The team would be better off keeping them on the practice squad so they’re ready whenever.
    ________________

    Players on the practice squad can be claimed by other teams, players on IR can not.
    The MLB analogy sounds good but in practicality it can not work in a league that has a hard salary cap, finite rosters and no minor league system. If unlimited IR returns are allowed the potential roster shennanigans would be limited only by the cap.

  14. I don’t like the rule change for the simple reason it shouldn’t be limited to just one player allowed back. With the money these teams spend on QB’s and the Star performers it’s hard to have good back ups on the roster, especially O Line.
    Increase that number to 2 on offense and 2 on defense. They have to be out for 6 weeks and the team gets a roster exemption to add a temporary player. It would be similar to what MLB allows but with restrictions so teams don’t abuse it.

  15. 1) Expand roster from 53 to 57 to allow teams to “stash” more developmental players on the active roster that they don’t think will make it through waivers and onto the practice squad, rather then the current practice of dumping them on IR with a shin bruise.

    2) Expand game day rosters from 45 to 50.

    3) Implement a Disability List. Players placed on the DL must be there for a minimum of 4 weeks. A player on the DL may begin practicing after 3 weeks and activated anytime after 4 weeks. Players not activated after 8 weeks revert to the Injured Reserve List, where the “only one guy can come back” rule still applies.

  16. willycents says:
    Mar 23, 2016 1:13 PM
    In reality, When a player is listed on IR, treat it like the practice squad. Let any team “raid” it to place the player on their active squad if he passes a physical. Let the team who placed him there have 12 hours to place him on their own active roster.
    _______________

    So effectively eliminate the IR designation for any valuable player who might want out of his contract? Agents would have a field day scamming that type of setup, lmao

  17. I dont get this whole limitation of 1 player per year. Why not make it like baseball where anyone could come back?

    If a team has a bad luck of injuries, they could be the team they were supposed to be if they could get their players back.

    I dont get how that would be an unfair advantage to a team

  18. The union needs to more aggressive.. More players with short term
    injuries should be allowed to return. Being on IR can have significant
    effect on pension issues. In the past teams would fake injuries to hide
    a young players. With developments in medicine and ability to have
    med records sent this is no longer the case. In light that the original
    move away fro IR return is gone, why not expand it.

  19. The whole IR fiasco started because in the 1980s the Redskins (under Gibbs) used to stash players there like it was going out of style. A lot of the posts here have a good, common sense approach to revising the system. And for that reason, the NFL wont do it.

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