NFL PUP List: Who's on It, and What Does It Mean for Each Player & Team?
Physically Unable to Perform list, or PUP, is a common NFL acronym that seems self-explanatory but carries an assortment of rules and regulations.
No player wants to be on the PUP, but it's much better than being on the Injured Reserve list.
Let's explain all the pertinent information regarding PUP and provide the list of prominent players currently on it.
Teams can place players with football-related injuries on the Physically Unable to Perform list. There are two PUP lists; Active/PUP and Reserve/PUP.
Active/PUP is used in the preseason for players who suffered or are recovering from offseason injuries. As soon as their respective team's medical staff clears them, they're eligible to practice and play.
Reserve/PUP is used for the regular season.
The deadline for a player to be placed on Reserve/PUP is August 31, which is the deadline for teams to get down to their 53-man rosters.
Most importantly: If put on the Reserve/PUP list, a player is not permitted to practice or play during the first six weeks of the season and is not counted toward the 53-man roster.
Here's an explanation regarding the window in which Reserve/PUP players can return the practice and subsequently return to the field that was featured in a July 2013 blog post of ESPN.com's Mike Sando:
Commencing on the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend (October 15) and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend (November 19), clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform for a period not to exceed 21 calendar days. Pads and helmets are permitted during the 21-day period. At any time during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, clubs are permitted to restore such players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform to their Active/Inactive List.
Translation: After the sixth regular season weekend through the 11th regular season weekend is the time frame in which players on the PUP list can practice and rejoin their team. Once a player on the PUP starts practicing, they have a maximum of 21 days to take that player off the PUP list and onto either the active or inactive list.
However, if a player practices during training camp or is taken off the Active/PUP list, he is no longer allowed to be designated to the Reserve/PUP list.
Minimum games missed: vs. Seahawks, at Bills, vs Giants, at Cardinals, at Vikings.
Jonathan Stewart has an incredible skill set for a running back, but nagging injuries have marred his NFL career.
In fact, in 2011, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) gave Stewart an Elusiveness Rating of 81.4, the highest grade among running backs who received at least 25 percent of their respective team's carries.
He'll miss the Carolina Panthers first six weeks as his right ankle—had both ankles surgically repaired this offseason—was still giving him problems.
In Stewart's absence, DeAngelo Williams will be the team's unquestioned feature back, and if Mike Tolbert fully recovers from his hamstring injury, he'll get some carries close to the goal line.
Minimum games missed: vs. Giants, at Chiefs, vs. Rams, at Chargers, vs. Denver, at Washington
In 2012, Jay Ratliff wasn't the same player for the Cowboys he had been throughout his career, going from Pro Football Focus' No. 7 defensive tackle in 2011 to No. 46 a season ago.
He's dealing with a serious hamstring injury, an injury that occurred during a training camp conditioning test, according to Rotoworld.
Jason Hatcher and Sean Lissemore are penciled in to man the defensive tackle spots in Monte Kiffin's 4-3 defense.
Minimum games missed: None
As it currently stands, Ed Reed is on the Active/PUP list, but he may very well be placed on the Reserve/PUP list by the August 31 deadline.
The 34-year-old had hip surgery in the offseason.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Reed had injections in his hip on August 27.
If he's unable to go at the start of the season, Danieal Manning and rookie D.J. Swearinger will be the Houston Texans starting safeties against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football.
Minimum games missed: vs. Falcons, at Buccaneers, vs. Cardinals, vs. Dolphins, at Bears, at Patriots
Victor Butler was supposed to be one of the New Orleans Saints prime pass-rushers this season, as he came over from Dallas with former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Although he mustered only three sacks in 2012, he was ranked as the eighth-best 3-4 outside linebacker by Pro Football Focus.
Butler tore his ACL in June, but instead of placing him in season-ending injured reserve, the Saints decided to store him on Reserve/PUP.
He won't return after six games, and as Rotoworld put it, he's "fully expected to miss the whole season."
In Butler's absence, the injury-riddled New Orleans defense will send out Junior Galette, Martez Wilson and newly acquired Parys Haralson to get after opposing quarterbacks from the outside linebacker position.
Minimum games missed: at Panthers, vs. 49ers, vs. Jaguars, at Texans, at Colts, vs. Titans
The former Florida Gator is a yards-after-the-catch demon, but offseason hip surgery will delay his debut in the Pacific Northwest.
Rotoworld wrote that Harvin "is not due back until Thanksgiving at soonest" although he will be eligible to return for Week 7's contest in Arizona against the Cardinals.
While Harvin's sidelined, Wilson's weapons will include Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and potentially a few newcomers.
Minimum games missed: vs. Packers, at Seahawks, vs. Colts, at Rams, vs. Texans, vs. Cardinals
Michael Crabtree established himself as a borderline No. 1 wideout in 2012, with 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns. Down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs, he was Colin Kaepernick's favorite target as well.
He blew his Achilles' tendon in May and had surgery soon thereafter.
Rotoworld called San Francisco's placing of Crabtree on Reserve/PUP a "mere procedural move" and that he "is out until at least Week 11."
Fortunately for the 49ers, they acquired Anquan Boldin in the offseason and draft the speedy Quinton Patton in the fourth round this April. Those two and Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis will be the primary pass-catching targets for Jim Harbaugh's squadron this year.
Minimum games missed: None
The decision of whether or not to place Rob Gronkowski on the Reserve/PUP list will likely go down to the August 31 deadline.
He had four procedures on his forearm and one on his back this offseason.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss wrote "a late September return might not be that far off the mark" for Gronkowski.
While he's sidelined, undrafted rookie Zach Sudfeld, who has thrived in training camp and in some instances during the preseason, will likely start in his place.