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Some might think it’s a big deal, but it’s not.
Talking about the Jets putting rookie tight end Jeremy Ruckert on NFI (non-football injury list).
Always found the name of that category strange, because many times players suffer NFI’s training for football. In the case of Ruckert, he actually suffered his current foot ailment at a Senior Bowl practice, ironically being run by the Jets coaching staff. How is that a non-football injury?
Because you can put players on NFI for injuries suffered doing football stuff if it happened away from the team, not a team practice or a game.
Also, Ruckert wasn’t a member of the Jets when he hurt his foot in Mobile in late January. They had not picked him yet.
The NFI list designation keeps the door open for the player to return to practice once medically cleared.
Dan Hope, who covers Ohio State football for 11W (Eleven Warriors), tweeted, “Jeremy Ruckert said he suffered plantar fasciitis at the Senior Bowl.”
This injury can have a wide-ranging time frame for recovery.
“Plantar fasciitis usually lasts between 4 weeks and 6 months,” wrote James Dunne of the running website – “Kinetic Revolution.”
We are right around the six-month mark, but no timetables for healing should be set in stone, as we saw last year with Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, who hurt his knee in Week One, and it was thought he’d be out about eight weeks, but missed the entire season, and was put on the PUP list today, so he’s still not ready.
The Jets are smart to take their time with Ruckert. They plan on him having a long, successful career with them, so why push the envelope here?
And plus, they don’t necessarily need him right now. Yes, he’s a talented player, but remember, they signed two tight ends in free agency who will be the #1 and #2 tight ends – C,J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. They also have promising second-year tight end Kenny Yeboah, tight end/fullback Trevon Wesco, and the sleeper in the room – Lawrence Cager, who they are converting from wide receiver to tight end, and who looked very good in the spring.
So now only does NFI give Ruckert plenty of time to heal, it also gives Joe Douglas another category to keep a player without him counting against the roster.
These kinds of lists can be a tool to keep more guys around.
Not that Ruckert is going anywhere anytime soon, but they can stash him on this list for a while, without losing him, and this allows them to keep another player, until they decide to take him off this list.
The Jets have the most talented roster they have had in some time, so Douglas is going to have to make some very difficult cuts.
So lists like NFI, IR and obviously the practice squad give you the flexibility to keep other guys around, that you don’t want to cut.
In the latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine we wrote about the San Francisco 49ers big regret of releasing cornerback D.J. Reed in 2020 when he tore his pec right before camp, and Seattle claimed him. They had run out of ways to keep Reed, or so they claimed.
So while some people might be pushing the panic button, Ruckert going on NFI is no big deal, and actually a good thing for roster flexibility.
July 21, 2022
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