As is the case every year, fans find themselves somewhat confused by the rules surrounding the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. And immediately following the New York Giants' decision to place five players on their preseason PUP list, questions came rolling in about what it means for the team and those players, and how it might impact the regular season.
Simply put, any player who in unable to participate in training camp activities as a result of a football-related injury is eligible to be placed on the preseason PUP list. These players can be removed from said list at any point prior to the regular season, even if they were only on the PUP list for a single practice. However, once a player participates in so much as one training camp activity, they are no longer eligible to be placed on the preseason PUP list.
As the NFL schedule moves into the regular season, any player who was on the PUP list throughout the preseason is eligible to remain on that list into the regular season. Furthermore, all players who start the regular season on the PUP list are required to remain on it for the first six weeks.
Until recently, once those six weeks were up, a player had a three-week window in which he needed to begin practicing. From the day he returns to practice, the team had an additional three-week window by which to activate him. If a player was not activated at that point, they would have to remain on the PUP list for the remainder of the season. However, the NFL recently changed these rules to the following:
Commencing on the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend (October 15) and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend (November 19), clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform for a period not to exceed 21 calendar days. Pads and helmets are permitted during the 21-day period. At any time during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, clubs are permitted to restore such players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform to their Active/Inactive List.
And, hopefully, that helps everyone understand exactly how the PUP list works and what it means for the players on it.
Note: Players who begin the regular season on PUP do not count against the 53-man roster.
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