It's Only a Flesh Wound

The NFL is planning to adopt a new policy at the next owners' meetings to change the way teams report injuries -- a practice that has become little more than a joke in recent years.

The NFL announced Wednesday that it plans to make changes to the current system of injury reports the league conducts each week. Simply stated, the system has become a joke.

Initially begun over concerns that professional gamblers could get "inside information" on player injuries that weren't disclosed to the public, the NFL started its injury list to allow people to know about player injuries. Obviously, coaches don't like to be fully forthcoming about the severity of player injuries, and often players are added to the list only when they miss significant time on Thursday and Friday of preparation for gameday.

The current system has been the source of controversy for years. Coaches like Jimmy Johnson and Mike Shanahan were chastised for not listing all injuries and, in recent years, anyone who follows the injury report knows that Tom Brady has been listed for more than 50 games as probable with a phantom "throwing shoulder" injury that hasn't prevented him from missing a single game in that span due to injury.

Perhaps taking a cue from Bill Belichick and his playing with the injury report, Tony Dungy got in the act, preparing a growing list of injured players each week during the season. When the Colts played the Patriots in Week 9, a whopping 42 players were listed on the early injury report, ranging from legitimate injuries to ailments listed as "teeth" and "lower body."

Brad Childress has said he doesn't trust an opponent's injury report, but he himself was upset with the local media early last season for asking about injuries, implying that good reporters should be more in the "homer" category and not publish the extent of player injuries or whether they would keep that player out of action or not.

Under the proposed plan, which would be finalized at the next owners' meetings, teams would detail on Wednesdays and Thursdays how much practice time a player takes part in and then on Fridays they will list players in the four injury categories – out, doubtful (25 percent chance of playing), quetionable (50 percent) and probable (25 percent).

If there's a way around this proposed new rule, you can be sure coaches will find a way to make it work – like have a player go through more of practice, just not at 100 percent. Like any new rule, all it takes is a little time to find a loophole. Don't be shocked if some coaches are already trying to figure out a way to make the new system work in their best interests.

* The Texans made their feelings known about the direction they're heading on draft weekend by making a trade with the Falcons for quarterback Matt Schaub. While the teams flip-flop first-round picks, with the Falcons moving from 10th to eighth in the first round, the Falcons will also receive two second-round picks (in the 2007 and 2008 drafts). While this trade clearly takes the Texans off the Brady Quinn trail – if in fact he is still available – it now leaves David Carr in line to be shipped off for a mid-round pick at best in return. Prior to the start of free agency, the Vikings were rumored to be interested in acquiring Carr in trade, but it was felt that would have to wait until draft weekend while the Texans waited to see if Quinn would fall to them. Now they are clear to move Carr to whatever team makes them an offer they will accept.
* Vikings fans may be happy to see the trade that sent Adam Archuleta to the Bears. Media types in St. Louis were shocked and pleased when Danny Snyder backed up the Brinks truck to give Double-A a huge contract when the Rams weren't interested in bringing him back at all. Now his salary has been dumped on the Bears. It will be interesting to see which hurts them worse – his cap number or his play.
* The chatter around the Dolphins in recent days has turned to the possibility of the team trying to swing a deal to get Trent Green, who has been allowed to shop himself out by the Chiefs. If this is true, it likely won't bode well for Daunte Culpepper's future with the ‘fins.
* Andy Reid, who left the Eagles Feb. 12 to tend to problems involving two of his sons, is expected to return to work Friday.
* The NFL Players Association announced Wednesday that Gene Upshaw has been re-elected to his post as union chief.
* Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings was quoted in a story that not only would he welcome Randy Moss to come to the Packers in a trade, but said he would be a "fit" in their locker room and that the possibility has been talked about among the players, saying, "We have obviously discussed this among each other." Maybe those in the organization denying any truth to the trade rumor should make sure to muzzle all their players."

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