Clarifying the Physically Unable to Perform List

July 27, 2010 | Luke Jones

With so much discussion over the PUP (physically unable to perform) list over the last couple weeks regarding Ed Reed and today’s announcement that 10 players—including second-round pick Terrence Cody—have been placed on PUP, it’s easy to get confused with the meaning of the designatioin.

In Reed’s case, the discussion in recent weeks is in regards to the reserve PUP list, which states:

This list designates players with serious injuries that will keep them from being able to start a season on the 53-man roster but may be able to return to the roster during the regular season. The players must be placed on this roster at or before the league-wide 65-man summer roster cutdown to be eligible for this designation, and they must stay on this list for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. After this time, teams have three weeks to evaluate such players, after which each such player must be placed on the 53-man roster, injured reserve, or waivers.

This morning’s designation (Reed, Cody, Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Oniel Cousins, Walt Harris, Matt Lawrence, Prince Miller, and Rodelin Anthony) was for the active PUP list, which is the first step taken to place a player on the aforementioned reserve list. It states:

Once they are designated as physically unable to perform, they are prohibited from practicing with the team. They can, however, rehabilitate individually and participate in team meetings. If a player begins training camp on the PUP list, they can be moved to the active roster at any time, even after one practice. A player is not allowed to be placed on the PUP list if they start training camp on the active roster.

The active PUP list still counts against the 80-man training camp roster, so there is no added roster flexibility but players are allowed to come off the list at any time. However, if Reed or any of the other nine players participates in a practice and would suffer a new injury or re-injure a preexisting condition, they would no longer be eligible for the PUP list in either capacity.

To put it simply, the active PUP is the necessary procedure for potentially placing any player on the reserve PUP in which he’d miss the start of the regular season. With most players, this doesn’t happen and they’re able to return to the practice field at some point during training camp.

For some perspective, the players who started on the active PUP list at the start of training camp last season were Willis McGahee, Lamar Divens, Davon Drew, Yamon Figurs, Ben Grubbs, Adam Terry, Jason Phillips, Samari Rolle, Lou Saucedo, Marshal Yanda, Kelley Washington, and Joe Reitz.

McGahee, Grubbs, Yanda, and Washington all went on to make key contributions for the 2009 Ravens.

While it certainly won’t make anyone happy seeing these 10 names on the list, it’s not always the major concern some perceive it to be.

Unless you’re talking about an All-Pro safety.

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