The NFL allows one player per team per year to be placed on the IR and be marked as designated to return.

What does the return process look like? How long must they be on IR, and how soon must they be activated? What are they allowed to do while still on IR (ie practice)?


In football, there is IR (Injury Reserve) and IR/Designated for Return. This new IR/Designated for Return was created in 2012 to allow a team to put one player on IR that is eligible to come back during the season.

The team can put a player on the IR/Designated for Return list only if...

  • The player was on the team's final 53-man preseason roster

  • The player's injury will prevent him from practicing or playing football for an estimated 6 weeks

The player then will be allowed to practice with the team after 6 weeks and can be activated after 8 weeks.

When activated, the team must make room for him on the 53 man roster. This can be done by trading or waiving a current rostered player


  • Can you elaborate a bit? Is there a time they must be activated by? What can they do while still not activated? – Brad Koch Oct 16 '13 at 17:24
  • @BradKoch Just edited my post to explain a bit more – Zack Oct 16 '13 at 17:27
  • Cool, could you leave this person sitting on the IR for, say, 9 weeks, if you didn't want to open a roster spot just yet? – Brad Koch Oct 16 '13 at 17:29
  • FYI, Mark Sanchez is on "short-term" IR, which is ~8 weeks long. profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/09/14/… – user527 Oct 16 '13 at 17:29
  • @BradKoch It seems so yes. Though it would not make sense because the only reason you would put someone on this list is so that you can get the player back as soon as possible – Zack Oct 16 '13 at 17:33

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