O’Brien Schofield almost sounded, well, giddy.
“Oh, I’m playing,” the rookie linebacker said without hesitation.
Not yet, of course. Schofield, who blew out his knee in Senior Bowl workouts in January, is on the reserve/non-football injury list (and of course it was football, but it wasn’t NFL football – hence the list). That, like the PUP list, means Schofield can’t play the first six weeks of the regular season and has until nine weeks to figure out if he moves on to the active roster or to injured reserve.
Ask Schofield, and it’s not even a question.
“If I’m feeling 90-plus percent, I’m playing,” Schofield insisted. “I know they’re not going to throw me in the fire. I’m probably going to play special teams but once I get that game flow back, I’ll be ready to go.”
Schofield, whose surgery will be eight months past later this week, has gotten fitted for his knee brace and has already been doing some change of direction in side workouts. “I have already been going about 70 percent, so we’re going to bump that up,” Schofield said. “The doctors said my knee was great and on schedule for the comeback. It’s just a question of how I feel once I am able to start practicing, so I am very excited.”
The news, in fact, has served as motivation, with Schofield so close to a comeback. Then again, it is no lock the Cards put him on the active roster. Schofield is still too far out from playing to have a serious what-happens-now conversation with the coaches, who have told him when he returns, he’d better know the playbook.
“The only thing that’ll probably stop me from playing is not knowing what I am doing,” Schofield said. “I’ve been studying crazy with it. I’m just trying to get back into football mode because it’s been eight months since I wore a pair of cleats. Those three weeks of practice (I will get) will be very important for me. I have to take practice like it is camp for me and beat my body up a little bit so I am ready to go.”
UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: Here are the NFI/PUP rules, which are a little more complex than I first noted: “The Club has from the day after the 6th week until the day after the 9th week to begin a 21-day practice period for a player on either list. The Club then must decide prior to the expiration of that 21-day period whether or not to place the player on the Active/Inactive 53-man roster or keep him on PUP or NFI for the rest of the season.” Conceivably, a team could begin that 21-day practice period on the day after the 9th week thus delaying your roster decision until the day after week 12. That could/would buy more time for Schofield to rehab.
The same rules apply for LB Gerald Hayes.
Tags: Gerald Hayes, O'Brien Schofield
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