The NFL has released the Pro Bowl ballot, an online-only process for voting on the players who will make it to this year’s game of two-hand touch in full pads. The ballot, however, omits one key category of players.
Anyone on injured reserve doesn’t appear on the ballot.
With NFL team’s allowed to place an unlimited number of players on injured reserve for as few as three games, it makes no sense. It also makes no sense for someone like Titans running back Derrick Henry, who rushed for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games, to be removed from the list. Why shouldn’t fans be allowed to vote for him?
While Henry likely won’t be back before voting ends, guys like Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory will return soon. But Gregory, who has five sacks and 12 quarterback hits in nine games, is off the ballot while he’s on injured reserve.
It makes no sense to disqualify players on injured reserve from the fan voting, which counts on a one-third basis along with coach and player voting to determine the roster.
While the game is frivolous, for plenty of players the honor is not. Incentives and escalators often are tied to making the team. Artificial barriers to the ballot should immediately be removed.