LOS ANGELES—If Su’a Cravens does return to the Redskins on Tuesday he could play as soon as next Sunday against the Raiders.
When Cravens needed time off to decide if he wanted to retire or continue playing the team put him on the exempt/left team list. A player on that list does not count against the 53-man roster limit. Cravens went on the list on Sept. 3 and the team is now in the middle of a four-week window during which they can activate him or put him on the reserve/left team list, which would keep him out for the year.
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But he does not have to remain on the exempt list for four weeks. Per the NFL, “The team can lift the exemption at any time to activate the player.” So Cravens could be activated at any time.
It is unclear if the team would be required to remove him from the exempt list if he reports to the team facility. They might want to wait a week or a maximum of two to make sure that he is in good health and that his conditioning is good enough to play. But they may not have that option.
If they can’t keep him on the exempt list they would have to release another player to stay at the 53-player limit.
Cravens was slated to be the starting strong safety before the sudden retirement talk. Deshazor Everett started in his place last week and he struggled at times against the Eagles. It seems unlikely that Cravens would immediately be inserted into the starting lineup even if he does come off the exempt list. A return in Week 4 in Kansas City would be more likely and they could wait until after the bye week following that game against the Chiefs.
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According to the NFL Media report that Cravens will return to the team there still appear to be some moving parts with Ian Rapoport writing, “Simply reporting may not be the end of the story.” When he left his teammates were publically supportive but some anonymously said that they might have a problem with trusting Cravens again.
The Redskins play the Rams today and coach Jay Gruden will not be available for comment until after the game is over.