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A breakdown of the Detroit Lions' specialists and what needs they may have on special teams.
As a precursor to free agency and the NFL Draft, Pride Of Detroit will take a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster. The series concludes with a look at special teams.
Under contract: Blake Clingan (through 2015)
After signing punter Blake Clingan earlier this week, the Detroit Lions now have all of one specialist under contract. He is obviously the lone punter on the roster right now, as Nick Harris is headed toward free agency and isn't expected to be brought back. Kicker Jason Hanson and long snapper Don Muhlbach are also headed toward free agency.
With Hanson, the situation is pretty simple. If he decides to return for another season, he will be the Lions' kicker. He has yet to make a decision, though, and there's no indication right now of when exactly we will hear something on Hanson's future.
As for Muhlbach, he is coming off of a Pro Bowl season for the Lions. The assumption is that he will be re-signed.
Need going forward?
If Hanson decides to retire, the Lions will have to find a new kicker. They will also have to find a new long snapper if Muhlbach is not re-signed for some reason. Even if both do return, we could see the Lions bring in a younger player at each position to compete with them during training camp.
At punter, the Lions still have a need even though they signed Clingan. Clingan impressed the Lions in a big way during his tryout, but he could use some competition. Whether that means drafting a punter or signing an undrafted free agent remains to be seen, but I'd imagine the Lions will bring in somebody at some point.