NFL Alters the Injured Reserve Landscape

For all the many arguments that described the NFL in 2011–where unions, players, and owners were in a squabble over how to negotiate the future of pro football–the parties seem to be reaching agreements much more easily these days. Most recently, there has been a strategic change in how teams must deal with their roster when it comes to those on injured reserve.

Judy Battista of the New York Times explained the significance of the change with great clarity:

“The new injured reserve rule will allow teams to bring back one player during the season if that player was put on injured reserve during the regular season. The player must have sustained a “major” injury – defined as missing at least six weeks. The player would have to be designated as eligible to return when he is placed on injured reserve. He can return to practice after six weeks and can be activated after eight weeks. That could be an important switch for players like Steelers guard David DeCastro, who injured his knee during the preseason. Under the old rules, any player put on injured reserve was out for the season, but DeCastro and others could return late in the season and for the playoffs. All other players put on injured reserve during the season are out for the year.”

On Wednesday night, the NFL officially begins its 2012 Season as the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants welcome the Dallas Cowboys to MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey.

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