Only a little over a week ago now, we ran a post here talking about Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marcus Easley and his ineligibility for the practice squad. That post stemmed from a brief conversation I had with WGR 550's Joe Buscaglia on Twitter, who shared my belief at the time that Easley couldn't be kept on the practice squad.
In a true "this is why he's paid the big bucks" moment, however, Buscaglia reported on Friday evening that Easley is, indeed, practice-squad eligible - despite the fact that he has two accrued seasons in the NFL. How is that possible?
I can only speculate at this point - because trying to figure out the NFL's practice squad rules is like trying to explain quantum mechanics while solving a Rubik's cube - but I believe it's because Easley has only been active for one week in those two years. Let's take a look at the actual language as it appears in the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement:
The Practice Squad shall consist of the following players, provided that they have not served more than two previous seasons on a Practice Squad: (i) players who do not have an Accrued Season of NFL experience; and (ii) free agent players who were on the Active List for fewer than nine regular season games during their only Accrued Season(s). An otherwise eligible player may be a Practice Squad player for a third season only if the Club by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment.
Obviously, Easley does not meet the criteria in (i), as his two years on Injured Reserve mean he has two Accrued Seasons, given that players on IR are paid their full salaries. It's in (ii) that it appears Easley qualifies for the practice squad, as he very clearly has fewer than nine regular season games on the team's active list.
For those of you who were concerned about the team not being able to keep Easley if he doesn't make the 53-man roster (and he very likely won't): there you have it. Easley can still be stashed on the practice squad if he and the team are so inclined to pursue that opportunity.