NFL Rookie Status
Per the NFL Record & Fact Book the term NFL Rookie is defined as a player who is in his first season of professional football and has not been on the roster of another professional football team for any regular-season or postseason games. A Rookie is designated by an “R” on NFL rosters. Players who have been active in another professional football league or players who have NFL experience, including either preseason training camp or being on an Active List or Inactive List, or on Reserve/Injured or Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform for fewer than six regular-season games, are termed NFL First-Year Players. An NFL First-Year Player is designated by a “1” on NFL rosters. Thereafter, a player is credited with an additional year of experience for each season in which he accumulates six games on the Active List or Inactive List, or on Reserve/Injured or Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform.
Thanks to the research of Ken Pullis, Pro-Football-Reference has determined the rookie status of every player who played at least 25 career games in the Common-Draft Era (since 1967). We have also determined the rookie status for all active NFL players.