The Green Bay Packers’ rookie class reported for training camp on Monday, but one player evidently had an issue arise in his pre-camp physical. That player is safety Darnell Savage, Jr., the second of the Packers’ two first-round selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.
On Monday’s NFL transaction report, Savage was listed as being placed on the Non-Football Illness list, an unusual designation. This list is similar to the other NFI list, the Non-Football Injury list, except for the fact that the two lists designate different types of issues. There is evidently nothing wrong with Savage from a structural standpoint, especially since he participated fully throughout the Packers’ OTAs and minicamp, playing almost exclusively with the starting defense.
The Illness designation suggests on its face that Savage simply came down with an ailment of some kind. In fact, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that Savage recently had his wisdom teeth removed. As anyone who has had that procedure done can attest, it can be painful and can caust significant discomfort for several days. Hopefully Savage will be able to finish his recovery quickly; he will have two more full days to get back to normal before the Packers take the field for their first practice of training camp on Thursday.
The NFI lists operate similarly to the Physically Unable to Perform list, or PUP list. Players must be placed on these lists at the start of training camp, and they are ineligible to practice until the team clears them to practice and removes them from the list. Once removed, they are no longer eligible to return to that same status. Players who remain on the list through all of training camp may be placed on the reserve version of that list, which requires them to remain out for the first six games of their team’s regular season before returning to the active roster.
Thankfully for Savage and the Packers, it does not appear that any of that will be necessary, and he should indeed begin practicing soon. With Savage expected to start next to free agent arrival Adrian Amos, Packers fans will eagerly await his arrival to the field.