The notion that NFL teams or players use chicanery to stash a player who isn't really injured on injured reserve to save a roster spot isn't new.
Still, the story Ty Detmer told about his brother Koy faking a knee injury to land on injured reserve in 1997, a ruse apparently planned by the Philadelphia Eagles, is funny and pretty audacious too. The incentive to do that would be to hide Koy Detmer on injured reserve and use the 53rd spot on the roster for another player.
Via Deadspin and Off The Record, Ty Detmer told the story in a radio interview with Cheap Shots. You can hear Detmer tell the story at about 22:25 of the show.
"[Koy] came up to me like a couple days before that day and was like, 'Hey, they want me to go on injured reserve so they can keep me around, what do you think?' And I'm like, 'Well, if they're going to keep you around, you know I wouldn't not do it.' So that day before practice he comes up and he's like, 'OK, today's the day they told me.'
"So, we're kind of in team period at the end of practice and they're like, 'All right, Koy, you're in!' And so, he kind of goes in, runs a play, runs another play and then he looks at me and gives me this wink as he's stepping in to call the play. And so I'm like, trying not to laugh cause I'm like, 'How is this gonna go down, you know?' It's a running play. He hands off and as he's coming out after the hand off to carry out his bootleg fake, he goes down and rolls around and grabs his knee.'
"And oh man, you know, the whole practice kinda stops like, 'what happened?' And guys were coming up to me and, 'Oh man, is this the same knee he hurt at Colorado?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I think so, I don't know, maybe he just, you know, twisted a little or something.' So they end up bringing the cart out and they cart him off the field. So, practice ends and I go into the training room, you know, and there he is laying on the training room table with a towel over his face and I just kind of raised the corner up and peeked and he's got this big old grin on his face. You know, like, 'How was that for my acting job?' I had to get out of there because I was about to just die laughing. And the rest of the team, you can't say anything because nobody is supposed to know."
That's not just a minor injury being sent to IR to get around the 53-man roster limit. What Ty Detmer is claiming is that his brother faked an injury, with the team plotting it, and put on a show for the team and media to sell it. Detmer said the media was out at practice when it happened, and that was by design. If this story sounds outlandish, like it's a lark by Ty Detmer, it's very detailed for him to be making it up. And Reuben Frank of CSN Philly, who has covered the Eagles since 1988, said on Twitter that he knew that story to be true not long after it happened.
Deadspin linked to a 1998 Philadelphia Daily News story in which a reference is made to when Koy Detmer "mysteriously aggravated a two-year-old knee injury." Ty Detmer said not even all the coaches were in on it, because, "back then you could get in big trouble" for that. Only a few people knew at the time what was going on. Ty Detmer said Koy Detmer even wore a brace and used crutches for a while to sell the story.
Detmer said Jon Gruden, then the Eagles' offensive coordinator, definitely was one of the coaches who was in on it.
"I'm sure Gruden does (know the story), because he told him it was time to take the dive," Ty Detmer said.
It's a great story, assuming that it's true and that Ty Detmer didn't make up an elaborate tale. It also leads you to wonder how often this type of thing has happened without anyone telling about it years later.