2020 South Side Questions: Will NFL Retain More Liberal IR Rules For Future Seasons?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will the NFL retain the Reserve/Injured List Rules that were put in place for the 2020 season?

With the owners meeting earlier this week, and the NFLPA holding discussions as well, a number of topics have come up pertaining to what were originally introduced as unique circumstances surrounding the 2020 season playing under a pandemic—and whether or not some of the changes implemented would persist beyond necessity.

One of the, frankly, best changes that the league made was that it not only shortened the window for players being eligible to be placed on and come off of the Reserve/Injured List all the way down from three games (down from eight games), they also removed the limitation on the number of players who would be eligible to return from IR on the first place.

This change essentially caught the NFL up to all of the other major leagues who have short-term injury lists that allow teams to remove a player from the active roster and replace him with somebody else who could actually suit up, without having to cut somebody in order to do it.

It was a long time coming for the league to make a change such as this, and personally speaking—and I’m sure most would agree—I really hope that they retain as much of this rule as possible. There is no reason that a team should have to waive a player just to fill a roster spot due to injury. There is simply no sound logic behind it.

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