Roster Limit Keeps Some Vets on the Sidelines

Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski says that the team is resting so many veterans with minor nicks due to the loss of NFL Europe roster exemptions.

“We made the decision before we came out, with 80 players now, we’re short four or five players than usual, we knew we’d have to be cautious,” Bratkowski said. “We’re trying to prevent the long-term injury. If a receiver has a strained hamstring, maybe that’s a week, maybe that’s 10 days. If they full-blown pull it, you’re talking six weeks. We’re trying to pay a little bit of the price now than play the price as we get into the regular season.”

Apparently, Bratkowski didn’t get the memo. ESPN’s John Clayton reports that Emperor Goodell has issued a diktat to teams to stop complaining about the 80-man roster.

Having visited 14 training camps, it’s obvious the impact of the 80-man roster is immense. Practices are being shortened and coaches are worried about players tiring and experiencing hamstring and groin pulls. Also, teams are being forced to reach injury settlements with players instead of keeping them around because they need healthy bodies to fill out practices. It’s a mess, but Goodell doesn’t want to hear about it from team executives.

Examples of the impact of the 80-man roster are evident throughout the league. Two weeks into training camp, four draft choices, including three fifth-rounders, have been waived-injured, meaning they will either receive injury settlements or will be released once they are healthy. Gone from the fifth-round are Falcons linebacker Robert James, Bills linebacker Alvin Bowen and Saints defensive tackle DeMario Pressley. The Bucs waived injured seventh-rounder Cory Boyd.

In the Emperor’s defense, it isn’t really his fault. Rather, it’s the fault of penny-pinching owners who didn’t want to pay for the extra bodies in training camp. Instead, they apparently would rather have their high-paid talent spend more time sitting on their asses. Good call, guys, good call.