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Josh McNary Placed on Commissioner's Exempt List

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The Colts announced this morning that linebacker Josh McNary has been placed on the Commissioner's Exemption List. The team signed wide receiver Griff Whalen to the active roster and defensive end Gannon Conway to the practice squad.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts this morning put in a request to the NFL to have linebacker Josh McNary placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List after he was formally charged with rape yesterday.  To fill his spot on the roster, the Colts signed wide receiver Griff Whalen to the active roster and signed defensive end Gannon Conway to the practice squad to fill Whalen's spot.

Here is what the NFL Player Personnel Policy Manual says about the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list:

"The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances. The List includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit. Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List; clubs have no such authority, and no exemption, regardless of circumstances, is automatic. The Commissioner also has the authority to determine in advance whether a player's time on the Exempt List will be finite or will continue until the Commissioner deems the exemption should be lifted and the player returned to the Active List."

Basically, McNary will not participate in practice or in games as the investigation into the rape charges takes place.  Only Commissioner Roger Goodell can place him on the list and only Goodell can remove him from it.  Other notable players, such as Adrian Peterson, were placed on the list this season as well.  What it also does is grant the Colts a roster exemption so that McNary will not count toward the 53-man roster limit.

So in order to fill McNary's roster spot, the Colts promoted wide receiver Griff Whalen from the practice sward to the active roster.  He was with the Colts earlier this season (mainly as a return man) but has played in 19 career games with the Colts (starting three) and has caught 26 passes for 282 yards and two scores, while he has averaged 8.6 yards per punt return and 25.1 yards per kick return.  In two postseason games (one start), he has caught 7 passes for 93 yards, returned two punts for six yards and one kickoff for 16 yards.

To fill Whalen's spot on the practice squad, the team signed defensive end Gannon Conway, who was with the Colts as an undrafted rookie in training camp out of Arizona State.