The Detroit Lions have finally added a veteran offensive lineman. He's not a tackle, though. Instead, the Lions went out and signed veteran offensive guard/center Leroy Harris on Monday morning, as first reported by Dave Birkett.
Harris, a fourth-round pick in 2007, spent the first six seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans. His first two years with the Titans coincided with Jim Schwartz's final two years in Tennessee before the Lions hired him, so Harris already had a connection to this coaching staff before signing on Monday.
Harris worked out for the Lions last month. He was in town just a couple weeks after offensive linemen Winston Justice and Antoine Caldwell worked out for the Lions. Of that group of players, Harris is the first to actually land a deal. (Justice and Caldwell, interestingly, worked out for the Titans around the same time Harris was in Detroit.)
Harris joins the Lions after spending the last three years as a starter for the Titans. He made 15 starts in 2010, 16 starts in 2011 and eight starts in 2012 before suffering a partially torn ACL. It remains to be seen how the knee injury will affect Harris going forward, but he brings a good deal of starting experience to the Lions' O-line.
What's also unknown at this time is how the Lions see Harris fitting into their interior offensive line. Do they think he will challenge Dominic Raiola for the starting job at center? Do they view him as someone who could push Larry Warford at right guard? Do they simply want an insurance policy who has starting experience at center and guard? Those questions will remain unanswered for now. What is clear is that the Lions have more than enough bodies ready to compete at center and guard between Harris, Raiola, Warford, Bill Nagy, Rodney Austin, Dylan Gandy, Derek Hardman and Darren Keyton.
The Lions are still lacking depth and a veteran player like Harris at offensive tackle, so it will be interesting to see if their next move is to sign someone at that position.