RESERVE/LEFT SQUAD. If a player leaves his club without permission after reporting to training camp, the club may place the player on its Reserve List as Left Squad, pursuant to the restrictions and procedures that appear in this section.
A club may also use the procedures of Reserve/Left Squad if a player who is assigned via waivers or trade fails to report to the assignee club.
A player who is placed on Reserve/Left Squad shall remain on the Reserve List of his club for the remainder of the regular season and postseason and shall not be eligible to be reinstated to the Active List of the club or any other club until the year following the season in which he was placed in such category. He is ineligible to play, practice, or attend meetings of his club or any club in the League or to use the facilities of his club or any other club in any manner whatsoever for the remainder of the regular season and postseason. No player in the category of Reserve/Left Squad may be traded to another club in the League in the same season in which he is placed in such category, nor may a club request waivers for or terminate a player who is on Reserve/Left Squad in the same season in which he is placed in such category
Any attempt by a club to use the category of Reserve/Left Squad in a manner to evade the player limit shall be considered conduct detrimental to the League.
CONTRACT TOLLED. If a player is placed on Reserve/Left Squad by his club, the obligation of the player to perform services as a player for the club in that season shall be tolled, and the term of such player’s contract to his club for the balance of that season shall be extended and shall not commence until the player returns to professional football for such club. Any renewal option for such player’s services shall be tolled and shall remain in effect until the end of such extended term of the contract. During the period that the player is on Reserve/Left Squad, he shall not be allowed to play football for any other club engaged in professional football, and such player shall not be entitled to any compensation, expenses, or other payments from his club under his contract.
IMMEDIATE NOTIFICATION. If a player leaves his club without permission or fails to report to training camp at the specified time, the club is required to notify the League office of such fact via the NFL Waivers account, on the same day or, if it is not a business day of the League, on the next business day thereafter.
PROCEDURES. If the club has notified the League office that a player has left the squad after reporting to training camp, it will have the following options:
(A) Terminate or request waivers for the player with the designation “Left Squad;” or
(B) Trade the player if the trading period is still in effect; or
(C) Continue to count the player on its Active List; or
(D) Request a roster exemption from the Commissioner (such exemptions are not automatic and may be revoked by the Commissioner at any time); or
(E) Place the player on Reserve/Left Squad. This option cannot be taken until a minimum of five days has elapsed since the League office was officially notified of the player’s unexcused absence and until the League office is in possession of a copy of the club’s communication to the player that notifies him that the club is entitled to place him on Reserve/Left Squad as the result of his absence. [Please refer to the Appendix for a sample of the letter that must be sent to a player who has left the club, page 126.]
ROSTER EXEMPTION. Please refer to the section in this Handbook entitled “EXEMPT LIST,” pages 31-33, for rules that are applicable to clubs that are granted roster exemptions for players who have left the club without permission.
REINSTATEMENT. A player on Reserve/Left Squad must apply to the Commissioner for reinstatement to his club’s Active List. No player on Reserve/Left Squad shall be reinstated in the same season in which he is placed on Reserve. A player applying for reinstatement in a season subsequent to the season in which he is placed on Reserve/Left Squad is prohibited from being reinstated in the last 30 days of the regular season or thereafter during the postseason, and no such player will be reinstated during the period between the trading deadline of a subsequent season and the 30-day deadline unless the club initiates the reinstatement request and the Commissioner approves it.