it’s common to bring back FX on input channels. Mix engineers do this because then the channels can be automated as well as EQ’d etc. and also you can add FX to your FX. a big mixer in a studio has lot’s of sends and if they run out of sends they just use the busses as sends and bring those back on input channels. i guess when a console has 8 sends 50+ channels, 24 busses etc then there’s plenty of ways to send tracks to outboard FX. in the years i worked at a commercial recording studio i never saw one engineer use the aux returns to bring FX back into the console when mixing.
my mackie has 6 sends and it also has 4 busses. if i need more sends i use the busses and either bring back the returns to othe rinput channels or i monitor through the computer and bring those FX outputs back to AD channels in my interface along w/all the other channels i’m recording.
i mix in the box though… and use the mackie for tracking.
oh, also, typically sends are mono on mono channels… if you are sending a mono track to stereo FX processor you just use 2 sends.