With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to upend the 2020 season, the NFL is considering a move that could help teams manage a rash of positive tests.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Friday that one suggestion endorsed by the NFL's competition committee to help clubs cope with COVID-19 is allowing an unlimited number of players to return from injured reserve and non-football injury lists and lowering the required games missed from eight to three, per sources informed of the discourse.
The idea to let players return from IR sooner would be in an effort to minimize the damage teams face from positive COVID-19 tests, particularly if there are a slew of players affected.
Per Pelissero, players would still need to make the final active roster to be considered for IR-return (a stipulation of the current system, which allows three players to return to IR after sitting out at least eight weeks.)
The hesitancy in the past for not allowing more players to return from IR was the belief among teams that clubs would stash young players on IR to keep them around rather than lose them to another squad.
Pelissero added that there is less concern in the current environment about stashing than ensuring teams have players they trained available.
The question of shortening IR stays is one of several issues the NFL and the NFLPA are attempting to iron out as the season quickly approaches. NFL owners are scheduled to hold a conference call Friday to discuss the latest COVID-19 talks between the union and league.