FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla -- One of the hot topics of discussion at the NFL's spring meeting will be the possibility of playing a 17- or 18-game regular season in the future. In speaking with Houston Texans owner Bob McNair for a piece in Tuesday's Boston Globe, he brought up the point that the league's rules for injured reserve could potentially be changed if the regular season is expanded.
Instead of having players who are on injured reserve lost for the season, would the NFL consider a baseball-like disabled list?
It is an intriguing thought.
The possibility had me thinking about an example from the Patriots' 2008 season that might apply, and outside linebacker Shawn Crable fit the bill.
Crable had a shin injury and was placed on season-ending IR on Nov. 5, a move made to create space on a different part of the roster. But if the Patriots had the option of placing Crable on a four-game disabled list, it is possible that he could have returned in December when the Patriots were ravaged by injuries at the position and had to summon Junior Seau off his surfboard and Rosevelt Colvin off his couch.
In the past, I think part of the reason the NFL hasn't had a disabled list is that it could be used as a way to stash players.
But if owners could find a way to regulate that -- perhaps a team can only have one or two players on a disabled list at one time -- it might change some opinions on the possibility of a longer regular season.