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NFL changes rules regarding the practice squad, IR, and practice structure

Some rule changes for the upcoming season

NFL: JAN 03 Seahawks at 49ers Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL announced a trio of changes to their rules in advance of this year’s training camps and the 2022 season on Wednesday night

Along with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the NFL announced changes to the rules regarding the injured reserve list, the practice squad, and the “ramp-up” period at the start of training camp. As a whole, they aren’t drastic changes, but they will have some effect.

Injured reserve rule changes

Players will need to sit out a minimum four games if they’re placed on the injured reserve. Additionally, teams can only designate 8 returns from the IR. While any individual player can be designated to return from the IR twice, each designation counts against the team’s total number of returns.

While this is a significant improvement over the pre-2020 IR rules, it’s a step backward from last year.

In 2021, teams were allowed to designate an unlimited number of players to return from the injured reserve, and they were eligible to return after three weeks.

Practice Squad rule changes

The NFL has expanded the practice squad to 16 players. They are also able to elevate individual players to the game-day roster a total of three times over the course of the regular season without them taking up a spot on the 53-man roster.

Teams can also have a maximum of 6 veterans with unlimited experience on their practice squad, as long as they have at least 10 players with 9 or fewer accrued games.

Previously, practice squads were limited to 14 players. Prior to 2020, practice squads were limited to 10 players with no veteran allowances.

Ramp-up period

The NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) had previously agreed to a “ramp-up” period at the start of training camp, limiting practices to 2 hours in the first five days of camp. That has been changed to:

  • No more than 90 minutes on Day 2
  • No more than 105 minutes on Day 3
  • No more than 2 hours on Days 4 and 5