When tackle Levi Brown was first hurt with his torn triceps, coach Ken Whisenhunt — who is on the rules committee — talked about the possibility of a new rule that would allow one player on each team with a major injury to go on injured reserve for at least six weeks but still have the option to come back that season. The current version of injured reserve meant that a player on that list was done for the season.
The Cards, with the rule still not approved, put Brown on IR last week. So when it came out today that the league and the NFL Players Association decided in fact to approve the measure, it seemed at first the Cards were out of luck. Normally, a player has to remain on a team’s 53-man roster for Week 1 of the regular season — taking up a valuable roster spot — before being allowed to be put on this new IR-type designation.
But both sides agreed that, for this year only because the rule was passed so late, teams could take one of the players they had already placed on IR and bring him back to the roster if they wanted to use the new designation. That means Brown is back in play. If the Cardinals want, they can bring back Brown to the roster (it has to be by tomorrow, when the other cuts to 53 are made), hold him on the roster for the first game, and then transfer him to the new list.
There are some decisions to be made, though. Whisenhunt said originally Brown’s initial timetable to be out was three months or so, but there was no way to get a better handle on it until after Brown’s surgery (which he had recently.) The Cards have to decide if Brown’s potential recovery is worth it or if they want to “save” this spot for someone else who might be hurt early in the season (for example, they might have been able to use it for safety Kerry Rhodes and his broken foot last year.)
Even if they determine Brown can come back and they want to try it, it would then mean trimming not 22 but 23 players off the final roster, when it was already going to be tough to cut guys in a couple of areas. They would go into Week 1 with just 52 available players, and then, after the Seattle opener, move Brown over and then sign someone else to the roster with the open spot.
And, of course, that doesn’t include any other roster moves the Cards might make over the next week or 10 days with waiver claims and free agents.
Tags: Levi Brown
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