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Friday Notes: Lions Claim a Former Chief, Release a Linebacker

  • As mentioned in a FanShot, former Lions great Terry Barr passed away yesterday at the age of 73.  Barr was a rookie on the 1957 championship team and returned an interception for a touchdown in the title game.  He later switched from defensive back to wide receiver and was a Pro-Bowler in 1963 and 1964.
  • The Lions claimed defensive end Brian Johnston off waivers.  Johnston is a former Chief who was drafted last year in the seventh round.  Gunther Cunningham obviously was the defensive coordinator for that draft, so it's no surprise that Johnston is now a Lion.  I wouldn't expect him to be anything more than someone that is on the team for depth reasons, but he did play in nine games last year, so he will compete for a roster spot at the very least.
  • John Niyo has a list of the six players the Lions have claimed off waivers since February, three of whom are former Chiefs.  I know comparisons to Rod Marinelli and his love affair for former Bucs probably popped into some of your heads after reading that, but think of it this way: Marinelli was bringing in his former players to be starters most of the time; the Chiefs players (only two are even still on the roster, by the way) are being brought in primarily for depth purposes and may not even make the team.  I would say that alone shows that the roster is in much better shape than it ever was in the Marinelli era.
  • The Lions also released linebacker Andrew Downey, an undrafted free agent from Maine.
  • Jim Schwartz, Matthew Stafford, Casey FitzSimmons, and Jared DeVries went to the Motor City Casino yesterday to give a Lions helmet to Dale Earnhardt Jr., a NASCAR driver who made an appearance for autoworkers and members of the National Guard.  Schwartz hopes to make it out to Michigan International Speedway for the NASCAR race there on June 14.
  • Kevin Smith is one of five running backs who could have a Steve Slaton-like breakout season for fantasy football owners, according to ESPN's Christopher Harris.

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