Ray Lewis riding off into the sunset last year.
Remember that? It wouldn’t have happened without the new rule that allows teams to keep hope for return alive for players who suffer significant injuries during the season.
It used to be a player in Ray Lewis’ position, with his kind of injury, was simply placed on IR. Game over. Season over. And for him, it would have meant career over. Perhaps no Super Bowl for Baltimore.
That, of course, is the extreme case of success with the new rule, but it also is why the league should expand the number of players available to use it on. Right now, you can just IR/DTR one guy. Why not 2? Or 3?
We’ve established football is a violent game. Why is it that the league allows the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list to be as big as a team chooses? Those players can’t play until week 6, but have to be practicing by week 11 and a decision to activate them must take place within 21 days of their first practice if they are to play that season. So a preseason injury is given more credence? A player hurt in week one doesn’t have all those options. I don’t get that.
The IR/DTR is a valuable tool. Players like Randall Cobb, Andre Brown, Owen Daniels, Dennis Pitta, Charles Tillman, Jared Veldheer, Matt Spaeth, Harrison Smith, and Edgar Jones could all come back and help their teams this year.
Placing a player on this list has it’s restrictions. They are going to miss 8 weeks. So the 4-6 week injury varieties are still going to force a team to suffer with it’s roster. So two things; 1. teams might be more willing to be patient with a 6-8 week injury if they know they have the spot to use and if the player is worth waiting for, and 2. a team isn’t going to sit out an important player for an extra month if they know they can return earlier, so IR/DTR won’t be an overused tool.
Adding a couple extra spots will only help the game. Players would like it, and teams would like to have the extra options.