Clarifying The Three Week Rule On Practice Squad Players Signed To 53 Man Rosters

On Saturday, the Cleveland Browns signed wide receiver Charles Johnson off the practice squad of the Green Bay Packers and wound up placing him on their non-football injury list after it was discovered that he had a torn ACL during his introductory physical. Now, because the move was made on Saturday, the Browns must account for Johnson on their 53 man roster this week and next week per NFL rules.

When this news surfaced, I was asked via email why the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t had to account for cornerback Isaiah Green on their 53 man roster for three weeks the few times he has been promoted from their practice squad. The answer to that is because he is being signed from their own practice squad and not from another team’s practice squad.

Here is the rule from the CBA:

If a player on the Practice Squad of one club (Club A) signs an NFL Player Contract with another club (Club B), (1) the player shall receive three weeks salary of his NFL Player Contract at the 53-player Active/Inactive List minimum even if he is terminated by Club B prior to earning that amount, and (2) Club B is required to count the player on its 53-player Active/Inactive List for three games (a bye week counts as a game) even if he is terminated, traded, or assigned via waivers to another club or is signed as a free agent to another club’s 53-player roster or another club’s Practice Squad prior to that time. If the player is terminated from Club B’s 53-player roster and signed to Club B’s Practice Squad, he shall continue to count on the club’s 53-player Active/Inactive List but shall not count against the eight-player Practice Squad limit until the three-game requirement has been fulfilled. If a player is terminated prior to the completion of the three-game period and is signed to Club B’s Practice Squad or is signed or assigned to another Club’s 53-player roster or Practice Squad, any Salary (as that term is defined in Article 13, Section 4 that he receives from any NFL club applicable to the three-game period shall be an offset against the three weeks’ Salary that he is entitled to receive from Club B. If the promotion occurs with fewer than three games remaining in the Club’s regular season, the three game requirement for roster count shall not carry over into the next season.

I hope that clarifies things for you. The Browns were unable to give Johnson a physical until after he was signed away from the Packers and now an interesting situation exists as Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel points out. If Johnson can prove that his injury happened while with the Packers, he could revert back to his former team and they would be responsible for his rehab or injury settlement.

This kind of thing only happens to the Browns. On the other hand, losing a newly acquired tackle during pre-game warm-ups to a triceps injury only happens to the Steelers.

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