Rules Of The PUP List & Why David DeCastro Is Not Eligible For It

I have received about 20 so questions from readers today asking if Pittsburgh Steelers rookie right guard David DeCastro can be placed on the PUP list to start the season instead of injured reserve.

I have posted about the rules of the PUP list several times before, but now is as good of time as any to recap them.

In order for a player to be eligible for what is called the in-season Reserve PUP list, a player must start training camp on what is called the Active PUP list. There is no exception to this rule.

Even if a player is injured during the first practice of training camp, he is no longer eligible for the Active PUP list and thus certainly not eligible for the Reserve PUP list. Once a player is removed from the Active PUP list in training camp, he is no longer eligible for the PUP list.

As an example, Rashard Mendenhall, Casey Hampton, Damon Cromartie-Smith and Max Starks all started training camp off on the Active PUP list and have since been removed. They are no longer eligible for PUP now. James Harrison and Jason Worilds also started training camp on the Active PUP and have yet to be removed from it. They are still eligible for the Reserve PUP list if they are not removed from the Active PUP list next week.

So next week the Steelers must make a decision as to whether or not to activate both Harrison and Worilds to the 53 man roster or place them on the Reserve PUP list, which means missing at least the first 6 weeks of the season.

I hope that clarifies it for everyone now. DeCastro must be placed on the injured reserve list or kept on the 53 man roster. PUP is not an option for him.

  • RW

    What are your feelings about keeping him on the 53 vs. IR? Is there any way an MCL takes less than 3 months to heal or is it just not possible?

  • RW

    I just looked at an ESPN assessment of MCL tears and came across this:, which claims that even a grade 3 MCL tear may take as little as 4 weeks to heal (though their upper bound is 8 weeks). Given that timeline, I’m not surprised the Steelers haven’t put him on the IR. I just don’t know if the other issues prolong that prognosis or not, but an educated guess tells me that all can heal together. If this guy is back even on the upper end of the assessment, I’ll be pumped.

  • Intropy

    I would keep him on the 53 for now. At the very least I want to see whether the NFLPA votes in favor of the one man eight week IR since that could be pretty useful. Barring that I’d also wait until I had an actual need for that roster spot.

  • SBSteelers

    If he is IR’d it will be just after the surgery. A minimum 3 month recovery takes the schedule all the way down to Dec 2 at the earliest. Will DeCastro be in football shape then? Say he is in good shape but not in football shape because he’s not allowed contact or has to stay off the field, can’t do his return to play exercises at full speed, whatever. Does it take another month to get into football shape? If that is the case the regular season is over because now we’re talking week 18 of the schedule and it’s wild card time.

    So if his injury is minimal and no more structures were damaged and the MCL and patellar tendon tears are minor – say grade 2 or better – then there is hope. If it’s worse then it’s probably over for the entire season, DeCastro goes on IR and the team finds a replacement for this season.