How does the NFL puppy list work? Explain the rules and differences

The PUP roster has become one of the most common terms used during NFL news reports about the start of training camps each season. “PUP” stands for Physically Unable to Perform, which means that the player is not allowed to train due to injury.

Several prominent players have opened a training camp on the PUP roster:

But what do the rules of the PUP list imply? Here are the ins and outs of the rules surrounding a PUP listing:

What is Active Bases/PUP List?

The player can only be placed in the active menu / PUP before the start of the bootcamp. A player counts against the roster limit of 90 players and can exit the PUP at any time during camp and train right away. A player cannot return to the PUP list if they suffer a setback or other injury during training camp.

Players can participate in team meetings and use team facilities while preparing for the season while in the active/pup game. They can also work out on the side during the exercises, but they cannot participate in any part of the practice (step-by-step instructions, individual drills, seven-on-seven, group drills, etc.).

What are the rules for the reserve/puppy list?

A player can obtain this designation if they are still on the active PUP roster by the time teams cut their training camp rosters to 80 players, which will be by August 23 this year. A player does not count towards the list limit once they are transferred to the Reserve/PUP. Teams have until the rosters are reduced to 53 players, which is August 30th of this season, to transfer the player to BOOK/PUP.

A player must remain on the Reserve/PUP roster for at least the first four games of the regular season (October 3 or 4 this season), which is new this season.

Once a player leaves the Reserve/PUP roster, they have up to 21 days to return to the 53-player roster. He can train with the team until he is removed from the list. If a player is still unable to play in matches after the 21-day period, they will remain in the Reserve/PUP list for the remainder of the season.

What is the difference between reserve/PUP and infected reserve?

A player who reaches the injured reserve can return after four games, which the league changed this off-season. An IR assignment can occur after the start of bootcamp and at any time during the regular and post-season. Active assignments/PUP listings only occur prior to the start of the bootcamp.

Teams are allowed eight players to return to the IR’s 53-player roster starting this season. Last year, teams had an unlimited number of players who could return from IR due to COVID-19 protocols. A player is allowed to return from the injured reserve a maximum of two times per season, but each return will count towards the allocation of eight players.

Effective August 31, the team can designate a player(s) to return later in the season from the injured reserve. No replays may occur in the last five weeks of the regular season during the post-season period.

What does the NFI (Non-Football Injury) list mean?

It’s similar to being on the PUP list. The difference is that a player drops off the NFI list if they sustain an injury/illness outside the NFL venue/practice. Like if a player self-injures while exercising alone or while in college and not exercising in the NFL.

(Photo: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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