Monday, September 3, 2012

A Look at the NFL's New Injured Reserve Rules

The NFL and the NFLPA have agreed on a few new rule tweaks for the upcoming 2012 season. The first is that the trade deadline has been pushed back from its traditional spot after the 6th week of the season to the Tuesday after week 8. It’s only 2 weeks but it does raise speculation that some teams may be more apt to move picks or current players to make a move for a 2nd half push.  I doubt that we will see a large jump in the amount of trades that take place but it does add a bit of a new wrinkle.

The other rule change that has garnered a lot of attention as of late is the change to the injured reserve rules.  Under the previous rule, a player who was placed on injured reserve was not eligible to return and play that season. A proposed change that would allow each team to designate one player to return from the IR list before the season’s end was originally shot down when the 2 sides couldn’t reach agreement.  Today, they agreed on the new rule and it will take effect for the 2012 season.  Here are the particulars:

-  Only players with a major injury (defined as an injury that causes the player to be unable to practice or play football for at least six weeks from the injury date) who are placed on Injured Reserve after 4:00 p.m., EDT, on September 4, or anytime during the season, will be eligible to be reactivated at a later time.  Each team may reactivate only one player placed on IR after 4:00 p.m. EDT on September 4. That player must be "designated for return" at the time the club places him on IR, and such designation shall appear on that day's Personnel Notice.  The designated player is eligible to return to practice if he has been on IR for at least six weeks from the date he is placed on Reserve. He is eligible to return to the Active List if he has been on IR for at least eight weeks from the date he is placed on Reserve

Upon hearing this news, most Packers fans’ thoughts turned to the injured starting ILB Desmond Bishop.  Bishop, as you may recall, suffered a torn hamstring in the preseason opener at San Diego.  Bishop was placed on IR back on August 27th.  By the letter of the rule, Bishop would not have been eligible for this IR rule exception however teams were given the option to move a player already placed on IR back onto the active roster by 12pm tomorrow.  They would then have to move that player back to IR after Tuesday’s deadline to make him eligible to return.  While the Packers haven’t made an official announcement regarding Bishop, the word on the street is that he is not likely to be the player that the Packers designate to come back.  Whether that is more of a function of his likelihood to return from his injury or because the team wants to hold onto that “get out of jail free” card is not known. 

With the preseason officially over with, teams have until tomorrow afternoon to trim their roster down to the final 53 man squad they will enter the regular season with.  Fortunately, Bishop was the only major Packer player who suffered a major injury that will sideline him for the season.  Cornerback Davon House was also hurt in that game but is expected to return and play once his shoulder has had some time to heal.  The Packers open the 2012 season on Sunday September 9th at Lambeau Field versus the San Francisco 49ers.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

 - Jason Perone (@WSB_Jason)

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