In the past, once a player was placed on IR (Injured Reserve), their season was officially over. Regardless of their recovery, they could not play again in that season once their name was placed on the list. However, due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and some more recent negotiations over this specific issue, the rules have been somewhat modified.
Now, each NFL team has the ability to bring one player back to the 53-man roster within the current season. He must be out for at least six weeks before he can return to practice and at least eight weeks before he can return to the active roster.
In addition, the trading deadline has been moved from after week six to now after week 8 of the regular season. Click on the 'Jump' to read the full description of the NFL Rule.
NFL-NFLPA AGREE TO ADOPT BYLAW PROPOSALS
INVOLVING TRADE DEADLINE, INJURED RESERVE RULES
The NFL Management Council and NFL Players Association have agreed to adopt 2012 Bylaw Proposals No. 2 and No. 6A, the NFL and NFLPA announced today.
Bylaw proposal No. 2 moves the trading deadline from Tuesday, October 16 – the Tuesday after Week 6 of the regular season – to Tuesday, October 30, the Tuesday after Week 8.
Bylaw proposal No. 6A permits clubs to re-activate one player from Reserve/Injured during the 2012 season, subject to certain restrictions.
Since this rule is being adopted after the cutdown to 75 players, for 2012 only, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to a transition procedure that permits clubs to return to their 53-player active list one player placed on Reserve/Injured since the start of preseason training camp. This selection of that player must be made no later than 9:00 p.m. ET tomorrow, Friday, August 31.
Following the cutdown to 53 players, the new Reserve/Injured rule will work as follows:
1. Only players with a "major injury" who are placed on Reserve/Injured after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on Tuesday, September 4, or thereafter during the season, will be eligible to be reactivated at a later time.
2. A "major injury" is defined as an injury that renders the player unable to practice or play football for at least six weeks (42 calendar days) from the date of injury.
3. Each team may reactivate only one player placed on Reserve/Injured after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on Tuesday, September 4. That player must be "designated for return" at the time the club places him on Reserve/Injured, and such designation shall appear on that day’s Personnel Notice.
4. Such player is eligible to return to practice if he has been on Reserve/Injured 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 Reserve/Injured for at least eight weeks from the date he is placed on Reserve.