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PUP rules refresher as Seahawks report to training camp

NFL: DEC 02 Vikings at Seahawks Photo by Michael Workman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fan optimism has likely reached near peak levels with the offseason of the Seattle Seahawks set to officially come to a close Tuesday when the team reports to training camp. However, in what has effectively become an annual tradition, some of that optimism will likely be dashed by the PUP parade, as players fail to gain full clearance to practice during their intake physicals upon reporting.

Thus, a quick refresher on what the physically unable to perform (“PUP”) list is and is not is in order.

The PUP list is specifically for players who enter camp unable to play as a result of an injury suffered participating in job related activities, meaning injuries suffered working out on their own or doing something else like riding an ATV do not qualify. The Seahawks, of course, have a number of players who finished the 2021 season on injured reserve or had offseason surgery, giving them a higher probability of landing on the PUP list, including:

  • FS Quandre Diggs (ankle)
  • SS Jamal Adams (shoulder)
  • WR DK Metcalf (foot)
  • RG Gabe Jackson (knee)
  • S/NCB Marquise Blair
  • CB Tre Brown
  • LB Ben Burr-Kirven
  • LB Jon Rhattigan

Just because a player lands on the PUP list is not a reason to panic. While on the PUP list players are allowed to rehab and continue to work on conditioning, and given the five day acclimation period of mandated by the CBA, teams cannot hold padded practices during the initial days of training camp. Thus, players who land on PUP can perform their rehab and conditioning work while attending team meetings without missing too much, and if after a few days doctors are comfortable clearing the player for full activity, it’s off to fully-padded practices they go.

Now, with that in mind, it brings up the advantages to the team regarding the PUP list and why a team would use it. The biggest misconception regarding the PUP list is that placing a player on the list frees up a roster spot, that is not typically the case. Thus it becomes necessary to explain that there are two variations of PUP, active and reserve. How each works is as follows:

PUP Active - Player placed on Active PUP may not participate in training camp practices and continues to occupy a spot on the 90-man roster (meaning no roster spot is created for the team to add a new player). Players on the PUP list may pass a physical and be cleared for practice at any time during training camp, and a player who remains on the PUP list through camp and to final roster cuts may be moved to the regular season PUP list. A player placed on the regular season PUP list does not count against the 53 man roster limit of the team, and must remain on the PUP list through the first four games the team plays.

PUP Reserve - If a player is placed on the Reserve PUP list, it creates a roster spot on the 90-man roster for the team to sign someone new, and the player placed on reserve PUP is ineligible to play at any point during the season.

One quick thing to add for both is that the only time a player may be placed on the PUP list is at the start of camp. Once a player has participated in even a single second of a single training camp practice, they are ineligible to be placed onto the PUP list. Thus, once a player participates in practice the only option is to be moved to season-ending injured reserve.

There is, of course, also the nonfootball injury (“NFI”) list, which is where players land should they suffer an injury doing something not job related or working out on their own away from the team facility. So, if anyone report to camp with a broken foot suffered working out on their own or a cracked skull suffered while riding crashing an ATV, NFI is where they will end up.

As what is certain to be a busy news day for the Seahawks continues, Field Gulls will work to keep readers up to date on everything.