Lions Activate Jeff Backus, Release Isaac Sowells, Place Randy Phillips On Injured Reserve

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 26: Tight end Tony Scheffler #85 of the Detroit Lions is pursued by Chad Greenway #52 of the Minnesota Vikings as Jeff Backus #76 of the Lions defends during the second half at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 26 2010 in Minneapolis Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Lions 24-10. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions have gotten their starting left tackle back. After missing all of training camp so far because of a pectoral injury, Jeff Backus returned to practice today and was activated from the active/non-football injury list. This is great news, as the Lions finally have their starting offensive line all healthy at the same time.

According to the Lions' official website, the team released offensive tackle Isaac Sowells today to make room on the roster for Backus. That doesn't make much sense to me, though. I was under the impression that Backus counted against the roster even though he was on the active/non-football injury list. What's more, even if Backus and Sowells were both on the roster now, the Lions would have 90 players. They weren't over the maximum, so I'm confused over why Sowells had to be let go for Backus to be taken off the active/non-football injury list.

In any case, Sowells is gone, and the Lions also placed safety Randy Phillips on injured reserve. Phillips was waived/injured last week after dealing with a shoulder problem, and it wasn't clear at the time if the Lions were going to hang on to him or if he was going to clear waivers. As it turns out, he did in fact clear waivers and his rights have been reverted back to the Lions since they placed him on IR.

UPDATE: The official word from the Lions is that Sowells was waived/injured. Contrary to what the Lions' website says, I don't think this move was related to Backus being activated.

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