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NFL announces 2022 rules for practice squads and return from IR

In addition to confirming practice squad size and putting limits on players returning from the reserve/injured list, some adjustments were made to the ramp up period at training camps.

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As many NFL teams are holding OTAs, the NFL has been conducting other business in preparation for the 2022 season. On Wednesday evening, there were several memos released in regards to various rules for the upcoming season. After some items had been adjusted over the last two years due to the global pandemic, the NFLPA along with the National Football League needed to come together on agreements for various things this season.

One item of note is the NFL practice squads will be set at 16 once again for the 2022 season. This per the memo shared by NFL Networks Ian Rapoport.

Of the 16 players, at least 10 must be of the typical “practice squad eligible” category, with up to four of which could be in their third season on an NFL practice squad. As for the remainder of practice squad eligible players, they could only previously have two years. Just like the last two seasons, teams can have up to six veteran players with unlimited accrued seasons on their practice squad.

One change from last season is that practice squad players can now be elevated three times during the regular season before having to be promoted to the 53-man roster. In 2021, players were only allowed to be elevated twice. When it comes to the postseason, there is no limit on a player’s eligibility for elevation from the practice squad.

Another item dealing with NFL rosters which had been adjusted over the last two seasons is the number of players eligible to return from the Reserve/Injured List and the amount of time spent on the list before they can come back to the 53-man roster. That’s per Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network:

With unlimited players who could return last season, teams can only designate eight players to return from IR, including any player returning from the practice squad/injured list. Another tweak comes in how long a player must be on the Reserve/Injured List as they must miss four games when in 2021 the time was only three games.

Just to clarify, one item which was made permanent with the NFL several years ago was teams no longer have to designate a player to return from the Reserve/Injured List at the time they go on the list. Teams do not have to say which players are returning until they begin their 21-day window.

One other item which was shared on Wednesday evening by Ian Rapoport is changes to the ramp up period during the beginning of training camp.

In previous seasons, teams had specific guidelines on how long they could be on the practice field at training camp as players got acclimated for workouts. For 2022, the time in which teams can practice has been shortened for the opening of training camp as they eventually get up to 2.5 hours of practice.

Although there were no big surprises with the announcement of the rules for the 2022 season, it is beneficial to know where teams stand as they head into the summer. Knowing the teams will have a 16-man practice squad once again with veteran players, as well as return time for players landing on IR, teams are now in better shape to prepare for the business of the upcoming season.