News has been circulating that Calvin Johnson admitted to playing with broken fingers last season, but a source with the Lions is confirming that is inaccurate.
While Johnson did admit to suffering finger injuries, he did not specifically state that he did suffer a break.
“Had a couple things here and there,” he said regarding his fingers. “Pretty much just getting them back straight and trying to straighten those things out.”
Johnson was reluctant to say the injuries affected his play, stating that “it’s nothing that’s going to prohibit me from doing what I’ve got to do … I mean, the thing is with a lot of football players, you have injuries. Unless you know about it, you just think it’s something that’s hurting and you just keep on playing.”
When asked when the injuries occurred, Johnson said the season was such a blur, he couldn’t pinpoint an exact date and time.
“I don’t blame anything on it,” he said. “I don’t blame any drops or anything like that on it. It’s just part of the game. Had a heck of a season with it and I’m just fortunate to be in that position.”
Tags: Calvin Johnson
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »
The Lions have claimed defensive back DeQuan Menzie off waivers from Kansas City.
A fifth-round pick by Kansas City last year, Menzie (5-11, 202) spent his rookie season on injured reserve after suffering a hip flexor injury.
The former Alabama cornerback has some versatility in his game and can play both cornerback and safety. That’s a trait the Lions like in their secondary players.
Last week, the Lions claimed linebacker Cory Greenwood off waivers from the Chiefs and guard Derek Hardman from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The team released defensive back Conroy Black, which still puts them at 89 players on the roster.
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 8 Comments »
The Lions added more depth along their defensive line Tuesday with the addition of former Western Michigan University defensive end Freddie Bishop to a new three-year deal.
Bishop, who’s an undrafted rookie free agent, first impressed the Lions back on April 17 at the local pro day hosted by the Lions. Bishop qualified for the workout being from Inkster, which is within the 50-mile radius that all the players had to live within to participate.
He had a career high 63 tackles and a team best 11.5 tackles-for-loss, which also ranked fifth best in the Mid-American Conference, as a senior. He had four sacks, which tied for second on the team, and also led the Broncos with five quarterback hurries to go along with a pair of forced fumbles and a blocked field goal against rival Central Michigan.
He had 12 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks as a junior.
Bishop (6-3, 253) will join Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones, Willie Young, Devin Taylor and Ronnell Lewis in the defensive end rotation.
He’s also the 90th player signed to the roster, which is the maximum the team can have. Any further signing will result in a coinciding release.
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 10 Comments »
Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Sunday, after his team had concluded it’s third and final practice of a three-day rookie mini-camp, that all 49 players who participated in the camp had impressed him in some way.
“I just told those guys that every single guy that was here improved their status, whatever that status was,” he said.
“We think more of them after this rookie mini-camp than we did coming into it. We got a chance to see them work. All of our draft picks, we’re pleased with all of our draft picks coming out of this, pleased with the undrafted guys that have come in.”
The Lions entered the weekend with 11 undrafted free agents on the roster. Monday, they added one more to the list by signing tryout guard/center Darren Keyton to the 90-man roster. Keyton signed a three-year deal, which is standard for undrafted rookies per the CBA.
Keyton, 6-foot-3, 305, was one of 21 players who attended the rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis. The former Central Michigan standout started all 13 games at right guard as a senior and helped anchor an offensive line that allowed just 15 sacks, which ranked No. 17 nationally.
He started 12 games at center as a junior, eight at right guard as a sophomore and three at center as a true freshman, so he has the multidimensional skills the Lions covet with their interior lineman.
“When you’re an interior offensive lineman, that’s an important thing,” Schwartz said. “You have to have the flexibility to play guard or center.
“Typically, you take seven offensive linemen into a game, so somebody’s got to play center if your center gets hurt. Usually, it’s one of your guards or your back up. But the more you can with stuff like that, the better.”
The Lions currently have an open competition at both right guard and center along their revamped offensive line.
Tags: Darren Keyton
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 3 Comments »
Ziggy Ansah wasn’t going to wait around for the dominoes to fall before he signed his contract.
The No. 5 overall pick signed a five-year deal with the Lions Friday morning, becoming one of the first players drafted in the first round to agree to a contract. Monetary details of the deal weren’t immediately known.
It’s the earliest the Lions have signed a first-round pick since quarterback Matthew Stafford agreed to a contract before he was selected No. 1 overall in 2009.
It also makes the Lions the first team in the NFL to have all of their picks – nine in all — signed on the dotted line.
The Lions had Ansah as the third-highest rated player on their draft board and expect him to compete instantly for a starting spot along the edge of their defensive line.
That makes Ansah, cornerback Darius Slay, guard Larry Warford, defensive end Devin Taylor, punter Sam Martin, receiver Corey Fuller, running back Theo Riddick, tight end Michael Williams and linebacker Brandon Hepburn all under contract before the start of today’s rookie mini-camp.
Tags: Ziggy Ansah
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 17 Comments »
The Lions are looking for a dynamic kickoff and punt return man, hosting free agent Josh Cribbs at Allen Park next week is part of that search.
Cribbs, who’s a three-time Pro Bowler, visited with the Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and New York Giants this week.
The Lions ranked 31st in kickoff return average and 22nd in punt return average last year.
Cribbs would be an upgrade at the position, but the Lions won’t have a lot of cap space after signing their rookies. Team president Tom Lewand has found ways in the past to make room for signings under a tight cap for players the team really wants, though.
While Cribbs would be an upgrade, the Lions do have other options.
Receiver Devin Thomas also has experience returning kicks in the league.
Also in the crop of potential return men are recently-drafted rookies Darius Slay, Corey Fuller and Theo Riddick, who could each try and fill the role as rookies.
Mike Thomas, Patrick Edwards, Slay, Ryan Broyles and Reggie Bush could all be options at punt return, though Bush isn’t likely to see much time there with how much the Lions plan to use him on offense.
Last season with the Cleveland Browns, Cribbs averaged 27.4 yards per kick return and 12.0 yards per punt return. He has eight-career kick return touchdowns and three career punt return touchdowns.
He only caught seven passes for 63 yards in 2012 as a receiver, but had 41 receptions for 518 yards and four touchdowns in 2011.
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 9 Comments »
I learned this morning after speaking with Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew that second-round pick Darius Slay has undergone minor and successful arthroscopic knee surgery due to a torn meniscus.
The Lions initially thought that Slay wouldn’t have to have a procedure done.
In fact, the knee never even bothered him. Following an MRI, he was told he had a torn meniscus.”I’ve been working out on it, I’m great,” said Slay during his introductory press conference.
The Lions opted to take the safe route, however.
Mayhew said that the collective medical opinion was to do the procedure now to allow Slay to put the knee issue behind him once he begins his offseason workouts.
It would have been nice to see Slay work out with the rookies this weekend, but — considering how minor this surgery is — the hope is now to see him fresh and ready to go with the vets.
Tags: Darius Slay, Martin Mayhew
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 20 Comments »
The newest Detroit Lions on a roster of 88 are linebacker Cory Greenwood and guard Derek Hardman, whom the team claimed off waivers Friday.
Greenwood, 27, played in all 16 games for the Kansas City Chiefs the past three seasons, primarily on special teams. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder has 34 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery over his career.
Hardman (6-6, 300) played in 15 games his first three seasons in the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, starting four games in 2010.
Both Greenwood and Hardman add depth and experience to two positions of need for the Lions.
Greenwood also brings some experience and talent to the Lions’ special teams units, which is where he’ll probably make the most impact if he makes the roster.
Tags: Cory Greenwood, Derek Hardman
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 10 Comments »
Interestingly, eight of the Lions’ nine draft picks either have their college degrees, or will be graduating in the next two weeks.
A team source said it’s the highest percentage he could ever remember for an incoming rookie draft class.
Only third-round pick Larry Warford, who’s working toward a degree in community communications and leadership development, will not have his diploma by the time June’s mandatory minicamp roles around.
Obviously, the true measure of this class will be decided on what they do on the field, and how that translates into wins for the Lions, however, players who were able to excel on the field and in the classroom have proven that they’re both smart and dedicated.
It might not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but don’t think that wasn’t brought up in pre-draft meetings regarding some of these players.
Shortly after the 2012 season ended, Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters that the Lions were on the lookout to add players with character moving forward.
Here’s a look at the eight draft picks and their degrees:
Ziggy Ansah – Bachelor’s degree in actuarial science
Darius Slay – Bachelor’s degree in education (May 13, 2013)
Devin Taylor – Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Information Technology and currently working toward master’s degree
Sam Martin – Bachelor’s degree in marketing (December 2012)
Corey Fuller – Bachelor’s degree in sociology (May 17, 2013)
Theo Riddick – Bachelor’s degree in television entertainment (May 19, 2013)
Michael Williams – Bachelor’s degree in general business (May 2012)
Brandon Hepburn – Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry (May 2012)
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 4 Comments »
Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is famous for saying the draft is not the finish line when it comes to building a roster.
Well, true to his word, Mayhew and the Lions hit the phones immediately following the NFL Draft Saturday and got to work signing talent that wasn’t selected in the top 254 picks of the NFL Draft.
“(It’s) really important,” Mayhew said Saturday of the undrafted rookie free agent signing period. “We got some input from Brian (Xanders) from things that they had done in Denver and we changed it up a little bit and we’ll see how it goes. But we’re wrapping that up right now and class is pretty much signed up right now.”
Here’s a look at the newest Lions:
Skyler Allen (6-3, 288), C, Ohio: Two-year starter for the Bobcats. He recorded 77 pancakes and 77 knockdowns in 2012.
Michael Brooks (6-3, 294), DT, East Carolina: Second Team All-Conference USA selection in 2012, despite being limited to 10 games because of injury. Still ranked second among all Pirate defensive linemen with 34 tackles.
Alex Carder (6-2, 215), QB, Western Michigan: Threw for 8,886 yards, 74 touchdowns and 36 interceptions in 38 games for the Broncos, but missed half of the 2012 season because of a broken finger on his throwing hand.
Alex Elkins (6-3, 240), LB, Oklahoma State: Did not play football until junior college, but still earned a scholarship and was a two-year starter at Oklahoma State. He led the Cowboys with 75 tackles last year.
Joseph Fauria (6-7, 255), TE, UCLA: Led UCLA with 12 touchdown catches in 2012, second on the all-time school single-season list and the most since Marcedes Lewis had 10 in 2005.
Austin Holtz (6-5, 300), T, Ball State: Accrued 32 starts in his four years at Ball State. He was named first-team All-MAC in 2012.
Steven Miller (5-7, 173), RB, Appalachian State: Was a pre-draft visit for the Lions following a 1,438-yard rushing season with 15 total touchdowns for the Mountaineers last season. He also had 34 catches for 377 yards.
Jon Morgan (6-2, 220), LB, Albany: Only played in eight games in 2012 because of injury but finished his career with 247 tackles, 106 of which came in 2011.
Martavius Neloms (6-0, 189), CB, Kentucky: A versatile player who started at both cornerback and safety while at Kentucky. Had at least 50 tackles (71 in 2011) the last three seasons.
LaAdrian Waddle (6-6, 332), T, Texas Tech: Another pre-draft visitor for the Lions, Waddle ended his collegiate career with 38 consecutive starts at left tackle.
Cody Wilson (5-10, 195), WR, Central Michigan: With 230 receptions and 2,729 receiving yards for his career, he ranks third and fifth, respectively, all-time at CMU. He caught a pass in 42 consecutive games, tied for the second longest streak in the NCAA.
Those are the players under contract.
The team will also invite a number of other players to its rookie minicamp May 10-12. A few of those players are reported to be: former Richmond quarterback John Laub, Kansas center Trevor Marrongelli, Marshall receiver/kick returner Andre Snipes-Booker and Deleware State receiver/kick returner Travis Tarpley.
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 31 Comments »