Explaining PUP, NFI, practice squad

LATROBE, Pa. – With training camp open and the process of putting together a 53-man roster in progress, here are some basic explanations of some of the more common NFL rules and regulations:

PRACTICE SQUAD: Made up of eight-to-10 players whose salaries are part of their teams' salary cap. Minimum salary for a player on the practice squad in 2014 was $6,300 a week for a 17-week regular season. That minimum has been raised to $6,600 per week in 2015. A player on a team's practice squad for the entire 2015 regular season will make at least $112,000. There is no maximum limit to how much a practice squad player can be paid, because remember, that money has to come from the team's salary cap allotment. Also, other teams can sign players from the practice squad but only to add them to an active roster, and the original team is not entitled to any pre-notification of this. Players on the practice squad also are able to decline such an overture, but that rarely happens because players must be on active rosters to accumulate time toward becoming vested for free agency and eventually to become eligible for an NFL pension.


PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM LIST**: Also known as PUP, this is for players who report to training camp with some sort of injury that would render them unable to practice. Players on PUP still count toward the overall roster limit of 90, and they must be placed on the list before taking part in any camp practices/workouts/conditioning tests. Once on the list, they can be activated at any time during camp/preseason and begin practicing immediately. A player who finishes the preseason still on PUP then are able to be placed on regular season PUP. Those players on regular season PUP must sit out the first six games their team plays. At that point, teams have a five-week window in which to allow the player to begin practicing; from the day the player begins practicing, teams have an additional 21-day window in which to decide whether to activate the player to the 53-man roster. If either of those deadlines pass, the player must remain on the PUP list for the remainder of the season.

NON-FOOTBALL INJURY LIST: Also known as NFI. This functions the same as PUP, except teams do not have to pay the players on this list. Such a tactic could be chosen by a team with a player who, for example, lost a couple of fingers playing with fireworks.

WAIVED/INJURED: In this case, a player with an injury is waived, and then if he clears waivers – no other team claims him over a 24-hour period – that player reverts to the original team's injured reserve list. Once that happens, the sides have five business days to work out an injury settlement. Often, an outside doctor is consulted to examine the player and make a determination as to when the player would be able to return to playing/practicing football. The player is then paid according to that settlement.

PLAYERS UNDER NFL SUSPENSION: Those players suspended by the NFL for whatever reason are allowed access to their team's facilities, where they are permitted to do everything except practice or play in games. Players are not paid during their suspensions, and the amount in base salary the player would earn during any suspension is added back onto his team's salary cap.

INJURED RESERVE/DESIGNATED TO RETURN: Each team is permitted to put one player on this list, but only after including him on the original 53-man roster coming out of training camp. A players on IR-designated-to-return must sit out his team's first six weeks, and then he can return to practice, but he cannot play in a game until he has been on the list for at least eight weeks. A player can be on this list longer than six weeks and miss more than eight weeks – those are just the minimums.

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