NFL teams’ intentions are too often misunderstood when they assign players to the Physically Unable to Perform (“PUP”) List. And the culprits are oftentimes the media outlets covering the teams.
They may present Marshal Yanda’s appearance on the PUP List to elicit shock or surprise amongst the fan base leading to unnecessarily worrisome concerns with the ultimate goal of course being to sell more newspapers, entice more web traffic or achieve greater audiences on radio and TV.
Then again it could simply be ignorance.
To help clear up any misconceptions, allow me to present Brian McFarland’s explanation of the PUP List and its intent and usefulness to NFL teams as explained in his 24×7 NFL Glossary. ~ Tony Lombardi
Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) – At the beginning of Training Camp, teams can place players on either of the two (2) PUP lists. A player may not be added to either PUP list once Training Camp has commenced.
There are two (2) PUP lists – “active” and “reserve”. The “active” PUP list is for players who may, or will, be activated during Training Camp. A player on “reserve” PUP cannot be activated during Training Camp and must sit out at least the first six (6) games of the season.
A player on “active” PUP does count toward the applicable preseason roster limit (90 or below, depending on the limit at that time). A player on “reserve” PUP does not count toward the 53-man roster limit during the season.
A player on either PUP list is prohibited from practicing with the team. During Training Camp, a player can be removed from “active” PUP at any time. If a player remains on PUP once the season starts, he must be moved to the “reserve” PUP list, but he does not count toward the 53-man roster. He cannot practice with the team for the first 6 weeks and cannot be removed from PUP until after week 6 (other than to go on Injured Reserve (IR)).
Once week 6 has passed, the player can practice with the team for up to 3 weeks and then must either be added to the 53-man roster or put on IR for the rest of the year, thereby ending his season.