What the emergency-QB rule means for the Colts
The Indianapolis Colts may not have to worry about making a roster decision regarding the need to carry three quarterbacks at all times on the 53-man roster after the league approved a rule to add an “emergency quarterback” on game days.
After the controversy from the 2022 NFC championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles — in which the 49ers lost both of their quarterbacks to injury — the league dusted off an old rule during the league meetings in Minneapolis this week.
The rule enables teams to dress a third quarterback without using an active roster spot on gameday. It was a league rule from 1991-2010 and now is back.
Here’s the official release from the league:
One hour and 30 minutes prior to kickoff, each club is required to establish its Active List for the game by notifying the Referee of the players on its Inactive List for that game. Each club may also designate one emergency third quarterback from its 53-player Active/Inactive List (i.e., elevated players are not eligible for designation) who will be eligible to be activated during the game, if the club’s first two quarterbacks on its game day Active List are not able to participate in the game due to injury or disqualification (activation cannot be a result of a head coach’s in-game decision to remove a player from the game due to performance or conduct). If either of the injured quarterbacks is cleared by the medical staff to return to play, the emergency third quarterback must be removed from the game and is not permitted to continue to play quarterback or any other position, but is eligible to return to the game to play quarterback if another emergency third quarterback situation arises.
A club is not eligible to use these procedures if it carries three quarterbacks on its game day Active List [47- or 48-players in 2023].
What does this mean for the Colts? It’s quite simple.
There was likely going to be a small debate as to whether the Colts should keep Sam Ehlinger on the active roster with rookie Anthony Richardson still developing. Gardner Minshew will serve as the bridge/backup option until Richardson is ready.
Now, the Colts can roll with the duo of Richardson and Minshew while Ehlinger can dress on Sundays as an emergency option without burning a gameday roster spot.
It’s a win-win.
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