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Don’t expect Seahawks to move Colby Parkinson to IR just yet

New York Jets v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Through the first two weeks of training camp for the Seattle Seahawks many of the reports from fans and media in attendance were of a similar tune regarding second year tight end Colby Parkinson. His size, length and abilities were impressive, and it wouldn’t be a surprise for Parkinson to have a breakout season based on what he was displaying in camp.

Those reports, however, came prior to the news Friday that Parkinson had reinjured the foot he injured in 2020, and which had kept him on the sideline for all of training camp and the first half of the season. Add in Pete Carroll’s comments that Parkinson would likely be out for “a bit” and things weren’t looking great. On Saturday Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network added a reason for optimism regarding the injury, specifically that surgery would not be required.

Discussing Parkinson’s injury at this point in time leads to the question of what the team will do as a result and into the fact that the Seahawks, along with the other 31 NFL clubs, must trim the roster down to 85 players from 90 by Tuesday at 4 PM New York time. Thus, the logical question from some is whether Parkinson could be destined for injured reserve. With the league once again allowing teams an unlimited number of players to return from injured reserve after a three week stay this might seem like a logical solution, as moving players to injured reserve can be used in lieu of waiving or releasing a player.

That said, if Parkinson were moved to injured reserve at this point, it would mark the end of his 2021 season.

The ability for a player to return from injured reserve is only available if a team has placed a player on injured reserved after 1 pm New York Time on the day after final roster cuts. That’s a lot of by law mumbo jumbo, but what it boils down to is the following:

  • Teams must reduce rosters to 53 players by 4 PM New York time on August 31 and
  • Any player who is placed on IR prior to 1 PM New York time on September 1 is ineligible to return to the active roster at any point during the 2021 season.

So, what that means for Parkinson is that he very well could end up on injured reserve, but not for a couple more weeks. The recovery time for an injury such as is that is treated conservatively (without surgery) tends to be six to eight weeks, and give that his injury was suffered on Wednesday, August 11, that recovery timeline would set a potential return sometime around September 22 to October 6. That return window is important because if Parkinson goes on IR after September 1, he would be eligible to return after the Seahawks Week 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 26.

Put that all together, and it means that Parkinson seems likely to wind up on injured reserve, but not until after the team has trimmed its roster to 53. The implication is, obviously, that the team would appear to be likely to carry a fourth tight end through final roster cuts before moving Parkinson to injured reserve. That means that one of the bottom three at the position, including Tyler Mabry, Cam Sutton and Dom Wood-Anderson, are likely to spend the final two weeks of the preseason battling for the right to claim that spot. Even more importantly, however, is the fact that it increases the probability of me having been correct all the way back in May when I predicted the team would likely keep four tight ends on the 53 man roster.