The Detroit Lions have deployed their secret weapon on the eve of their biggest game of the year. The 2016 Name Bracket Champion, Jace Billingsley, has been promoted from the practice squad to the active roster, as Aaron Wilson first reported. Billingsley will now be eligible to play against the Green Bay Packers, should the Lions choose to include him in the active 46-man gameday roster.
Billingsley’s promotion likely means that Lions receiver and return specialist Andre Roberts, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury, will miss Sunday’s game. Roberts is listed as questionable, but this casts serious doubts on his current health.
Billingsley could very well step in for Roberts as the team’s kick and punt returner. The he has yet to play in a regular season game, during the preseason, the undrafted rookie undertook both returner roles. His best performances include a 40-yard kick return against the Ravens and a 23-yard punt return against the Steelers. In Detroit’s preseason finale against the Bills, Billingsley was the exclusive punt and kick returner.
Jace could also see some playing time on offense. Last week, the Lions used TJ Jones a few times, but did not see much production from him. With Roberts ailing, and Anquan Boldin dealing with a strange, unlisted finger injury, Billingsley may be given a handful of offensive snaps on Sunday. Let’s not forget that his final preseason game ended with seven catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.
The Lions have not made this move official, nor announced a corresponding move to free up a space on the roster. When they do, we’ll update the story.
UPDATE: The Lions have placed running back Theo Riddick on IR to make room for Billingsley.