NFL Discussing Change To IR/Return Rule

NFL officials today discussed the idea of tweaking the designated to return from injured reserve rule, former executive and current ESPN commentator Bill Polian told SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today). According to Polian, the league is considering expanding the number of players who can return from IR later in the season. Currently, a club can only designate one player to come off IR.Roger Goodell

[RELATED: Ravens To Bring Matt Elam Off IR]

Prior to 2016, a team was required to specify whether a player was receiving the designated-to-return tag at the time that player was placed on injured reserve. The designation allowed the player to return to practice after six weeks and to return to game action after eight weeks, rather than having to spend the entire season on IR.

Based on a new rule proposed by the Bills and approved by the NFL’s owners, teams no longer have to specifically designate that a player will be occupying that IR-DTR spot when he’s placed on injured reserve. For instance, if a team places five players on injured reserve before Week 1, that club could decide at a later date to bring back any one of those players off IR.

The six-week waiting period will still applies, and teams still only be able to use the IR-DTR designation on a single player per year — so in the previous example, the other four players will have to stay on IR all season, or until they work out an injury settlement with the club. Still, the option to postpone the decision on which player gets the designation gives teams more freedom and roster flexibility, allowing clubs to maximize the use of that IR-DTR spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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5 comments on “NFL Discussing Change To IR/Return Rule

  1. Surprisingly a Bucks Fan

    let teams have as many players as they want to sign and submit a 53 man roster for every game

    • I don’t like the idea of “as many players as they want” but I like the idea of further expanding the rosters. Maybe expand rosters to 68 but without a practice squad and its restrictions (so, in essence, the 10 practice squad players plus an additional 5 players that can be of varying experience levels that are added to the roster). And then, as you suggested, submitting a 53 man roster for every game. Personally, I think it’s stupid that teams have a 53 man roster but must rule out a bunch of guys as inactives. If the NFL really wants to promote safety (which they don’t) they would just eliminate that rule. Would give more teams flexibility and better allow them to rest players.

      • whereslou

        When the NFL is truly worried about safety they will make ALL players wear mouth pieces, knee pads that cover the knees, and helmets that fit properly. Mouth pieces help prevent concussions as do proper knee pads. The helmets should not come off like they do, in fact they should have marks on their heads like Peyton used to have, that was a proper fitting helmet. Also all that hair some of them wear does not allow for proper fitting. Until these easy things are fixed I will not believe the NFL cares. Now the problem is college is allowing players to wear pants higher than the NFL does. I have seen BB shorts longer than some college players FB pants it is too bad.

      • Surprisingly a Bucks Fan

        I’m curious why you don’t like “as many players as they want”? if the owner wants to pay 100 players within the salary cap I see no reason not to.

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