When Green Bay Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop suffered a serious hamstring injury earlier this month, we noted the possibility of a new NFL rule that could help him return to the field before the end of the season. Thursday, we learned the rule has been scrapped after a disagreement between the league and the NFL Players Association.
The rule, originally approved by owners in the spring, would have created a separate designation for one injured player who wouldn't count against the 53-man roster during the first six weeks of the season. But unlike players on the traditional injured reserve list, who must miss the entire year, the designated player could return to practice after six weeks and be activated to the 53-man roster two weeks after that.
The idea was to give players who haven't suffered truly season-ending injuries a chance to play in the second half of the year and not be a roster burden in the meantime. We don't yet know if Bishop would have qualified, but the point is he definitely will be lost for the season if the Packers place him on injured reserve.
According to NFLPA spokesman George Atallah, the union rejected the rule because the NFL made it contingent on changing the restrictions on padded practices during the season under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). As in most labor issues, there is no such thing as a free lunch.