Monday morning it was reported by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that rookie cornerback Sequez Golson might indeed need surgery on his ailing shoulder. Since that time, I have received a few emails asking if Golson will be placed on the teams injured reserve list with the designated to return tag, so I wanted to clarify why that’s not going to happen.
First, being as Golson started off training camp on the Active PUP list, he is eligible to go on the Reserve PUP list once the final cuts take place right before the start of the regular season. Players played on the Reserve PUP list do not count against the 53 man roster.
Once Golson’s placed on the Reserve PUP list, he will not be able to play the first six weeks of the season. After those six weeks are up, and if Golson is still not ready to return to action, a three week window opens during which he must begin practicing. If he fails to practice during those three weeks, he then must be placed on injured reserve at the end of the three week window. If, however, he does begin practicing during those three weeks, a new three week window will then open at the end of which he must either be placed back on the Steelers 53 man roster or on the team’s injured reserve list.
Here’s something else I need to clarify for you when it comes to the injured reserve/designated to return tag. In order for a player to qualify for it at the start of the regular-season, he must be on the team’s final 53 man roster after the final cuts are made. So, do you see why that won’t happen with Golson?
The injured reserve/designated to return tag is used on a player that is injured during training camp or the preseason as they no longer qualify for the PUP if they practice at all during training camp. This is why teams have to designate players as Active PUP before training camp gets underway. Remember, once a player practices during training camp, he no longer qualifies for PUP.
Now, if the Steelers don’t use their one injured reserve/designated to return tag at the start of the regular-season, that’s fine as they still can use it at some point if needed. We saw this happen just last season with linebacker Jarvis Jones after he suffered his wrist injury in the Week 3 game against the Carolina Panthers.
To summarize, Reserve PUP is the best path for Golson even if he has season-ending shoulder surgery. At any time the team can place him on injured reserve from that point forward.