The injuries are affecting playoff races as the injuries pile up. The Eagles, Bears, Rams and Bills are in big trouble. Among the other players who have missed playing time with injuries: Ahmad Bradshaw, Ray Rice, Stevan Ridley, Danny Amendola, Miles Austin, Percy Harvin, Dennis Pitta, C.J. Spiller, James Jones, David Wilson, Brandon Jacobs, Santonio Holmes, Michael Crabtree, Fred Davis and Shane Vereen.
There are so many injuries that teams could run out of players. The Bills plucked a player from their practice squad, Thad Lewis, and made him their starting quarterback. But practice squads might not be enough. Forbes magazine writer Monte Burke notes that in 2010, 352 players went on the season-ending Injured Reserve list, missing an average of nine and a half games.
“The NFL, of course, already has the greatest and cheapest (read: free) farm system in the professional sports world: The college game,” writes Burke. “But those players are obviously not able to join NFL teams in mid-season. A developmental league could help fill that void — and could have other benefits as well.”
NFL Europe went out of business in 2007, but for 15 years it served as a developmental league, not only providing players to fill in for injuries but giving second chances to players such as Kurt Warner, James Harrison, Fred Jackson, Jake Delhomme and Brad Johnson.
At the current rate of attrition, NFL teams are going to need help from somewhere.
Doug Robinson's columns run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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