NFL teams are starting to declare players "physically unable to perform" as they convene for training camps.
Wes Welker of the New England Patriots recently became a high-profile addition to a PUP list. We'll see NFC West teams take advantage of PUP lists as well, making this a good time to lay out exactly what PUP status means for players.
Players who do not pass physical examinations before training camp cannot practice. Teams place these players on their PUP lists. The players remain on the active roster and count against 80-man limits. They can come off the PUP list and begin practicing as soon as they pass physical examinations.
Players remaining on PUP lists at the Sept. 4 mandatory reduction to 53 players are not eligible to play until after the first six games. They continue to receive their salaries in full.
The chart shows current NFC West players who finished the 2009 season on NFC West injured reserve lists. Some could be candidates for PUP lists as camps open. Their ages are rounded down to the nearest tenth, making it easy to see, for example, that Rams long snapper Chris Massey is much closer to 31 than he is to 30.
Some players not shown in the chart could be candidates for PUP lists.
The Arizona Cardinals Gerald Hayes is one obvious candidate. The St. Louis Rams have said they expect Steven Jackson to be recovered from back surgery in time for camp. The Seattle Seahawks' T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch and Leon Washington have missed time recovering from surgeries this offseason.
There's not necessarily reason for panic when a team places a high-profile player on its PUP list to open camp. Sometimes the player misses only a short time.