On Thursday, NFL owners voted to allow three players to return from injured reserve each season, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Previously, teams were capped at two IR-DTR spots each.
The rule change makes plenty of sense given the current climate. And, once things go back to normal, it would probably make sense for the league to keep it in place. With playoff expansion and regular season expansion on the horizon, the already staggering injury totals will jump even higher. The ability to bring an extra player back from IR should help to offset some of those losses.
The league’s IR-DTR rule has gone through a few transformations since its first introduction. At the outset, teams were only allowed to bring back one player per year and they had to make the designation in advance. Later, the designation was eliminated. Then, in 2017, teams were permitted to return two players from IR each season, rather than just one.
Per the last set of rules, a player must be on IR for a minimum of six weeks before practicing. After that, the player can return to live action two weeks later, making it a minimum eight-week IR stay. Those conditions, presumably, will remain.
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