The New England Patriots are not the only team in the AFC East currently under investigation from the NFL: as first reported by John Wawrow of the Associated Press, the league is looking into a possible violation by the Buffalo Bills in regards to their injury reporting during the regular season. A social media post by defensive end Jerry Hughes earlier this week apparently triggered the investigation into the matter.
In the statement posted on Tuesday, Hughes said that he “wasn’t going to let these torn ligaments in my wrist slow me down as the team was so close to achieving our goal of an AFC East banner and playoff games.” Buffalo, however, had never listed the 31-year-old on its injury report because of a wrist injury during the season — the only time he popped up on the report was in Week 12 due to a groin injury that limited him in practice.
This, of course, might constitute a violation of NFL rules as our colleagues at Buffalo Rumblings pointed out referring to the league’s personnel reporting policy:
If any player has a significant or noteworthy injury, it must be listed on the practice report, even if he fully participates in practice and the team expects that he will play in the team’s next game. This is especially important for key players whose injuries may be covered extensively by the media.
Hughes mentioning torn ligaments in his wrist could very well be interpreted as what the NFL names a ”significant or noteworthy injury” that should have been reported by the team. Unless the issue was only just discovered after the Bills’ season came to an end on wild card weekend or the player failed to report the injury, there is a chance that the league eventually finds the organization guilty of not following its injury reporting guidelines.
This possible violation, in turn, could result in a potential fine or loss of draft picks although the latter seems less likely when looking at previous infractions: earlier this year, the Detroit Lions were found guilty of breaking injury reporting rules but fined a mere $75,000.