NFL Approves New IR Rule, Desmond Bishop Can Return This Season

CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 23: Desmond Bishop #55 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after the Packers 21-14 victory against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

If the Green Bay Packers choose to designate Desmond Bishop as their player eligible to return from injured reserve by tomorrow's roster deadline, the inside linebacker could potentially make a return to the field this season. The NFL announced a couple of rule changes today, including the new injured reserve rule. Under the new rule, teams can bring one player per year off IR. The player must spend at least six weeks on IR before he is allowed to return.

Here is the entire rule, from the NFLPA.

1. Only players with a "major injury" who are placed on Reserve/Injured after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on Tuesday, September 4, or thereafter during the season, will be eligible to be reactivated at a later time.

2. A "major injury" is defined as an injury that renders the player unable to practice or play football for at least six weeks (42 calendar days) from the date of injury.

3. Each team may reactivate only one player placed on Reserve/Injured after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on Tuesday, September 4. That player must be "designated for return" at the time the club places him on Reserve/Injured, and such designation shall appear on that day's Personnel Notice.

4. Such player is eligible to return to practice if he has been on Reserve/Injured for at least six weeks from the date he is placed on Reserve. He is eligible to return to the Active List if he has been on Reserve/Injured for at least eight weeks from the date he is placed on Reserve.

As that reads, Bishop would not be eligible for return under normal circumstances, but an exception is being made this year. Check out the information on that after the jump,

Here's NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal with the info on why Bishop can return, even though he does not meet the conditions above. It's a one-year exception.

If a team is going to use the rule to activate a player who was placed on IR before September 4, they need to designate him as the player eligible to return from IR by tomorrow.

I think that this rule is a great change for the league as a whole, and it's obviously great for the Green Bay Packers this season. We're a long way from knowing exactly when Bishop will be able to return to competitive, full speed football, but it's something that could potentially happen for him this season.

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