What are the injured reserve rules?


Patriots injury
The injured reserve has some complicated rules. Photo from Pats Pulpit.

Most new American football fans need to have the NFL injured reserve explained, as it’s not something football fans are usually familiar with. Then again, we have to consider that NFL rosters feature way more players than a normal football team.

That’s why the NFL injured reserve is so useful. Basically, players on IR free a roster spot for a practice squad player to fill in that void in the meantime. Obviously, that player or another player would have to give up his spot once the players on IR are designated to return.

NFL injured reserve explained

Teams pretty much “stashed” players that are due to miss multiple weeks until they’re eligible to come back from their injury while also having the chance to add more players to their active roster. In the following sections, we’ll explain in more detail.

What does it mean to get put on IR?

Being put on IR means that the player can’t perform and is “not immediately available for participation with a club”, as per the NFL.

There are also different designations, such as the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform), reserve/non-football injury, and reserve/non-football illness.

How long does a player have to stay on injured reserve?

Players have to stay on the injured reserve for as long as they need to heal. They have a four-week window to be promoted back to the active roster the week after they start practicing again.

If that doesn’t happen or the player suffers a setback, then he must be shut down for the remainder of the season.

Can a player come back from injured reserve?

Before 2012, players on IR were ineligible to return for the whole season but they were still able to be with the team.

Now, teams can bring up to eight players back from IR throughout the season.

Do NFL players get paid on injured reserve?

Most of the time, it’s not a player’s fault to be hurt.

That means that the team is obliged to fulfil their contractual obligations and continue to pay them throughout the season.

Nonetheless, players on IR may miss the chance to cash their incentives and bonuses as most of them are performance-based.

Do players on IR get a Super Bowl ring?

Yes, all players on Injured Reserve are actually eligible to get Super Bowl rings. As a matter of fact, teams are free to give Super Bowl rings to pretty much every single person they want, including active or inactive players, coaches, trainers, personnel and staff members.

Players placed on Injured Reserve are still a part of the team and partake in team activities. They’re in the locker room, on the sidelines, and sometimes even travel with the team, so they also deserve credit for their contributions to the team’s success.

It’s not unusual to even see teams hand out Super Bowl rings to players or coaches that were a part of the team at some point in the season despite not finishing the year with the franchise.





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The injured reserve has some complicated rules. Photo from Pats Pulpit. Most new American football fans need to have the NFL injured reserve explained, as it’s not something football fans are usually familiar with. Then again, we have to consider that NFL rosters feature way more players than a normal football team. That’s why the…