It was just December when Brandon Pettigrew tore his ACL in St. Louis against the Rams. The injury was Pettigrew's second ACL tear to the same knee. In the aftermath, the Detroit Lions were decimated at the tight end position. Just Eric Ebron and Tim Wright were on the roster before the Lions added Bear Pascoe. But Pascoe was never part of the team's plans and the Lions chose not to re-sign him.
Looking to 2016, it seemed logical the Lions would find a replacement for Pettigrew. No one would expect a player who has torn his ACL twice to come back full strength. With a huge cap hit coming next year ($4.65 million) this seemed like a logical time for the Lions to split ways, even if it meant reaching an injury settlement with Pettigrew.
But the Detroit never made any moves to replace the aging tight end, and now we may know why:
Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew, who tore his left ACL last Dec., said tonight that he plans to be ready to go by the start of training camp.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) May 11, 2016
If Pettigrew were actually healed and ready to go by training camp, that would be a miraculously quick turnaround. Adrian Peterson, who tore both his ACL and MCL in December of 2011, had what most consider one of the most incredible rehabs in history, but even he had to sit out most of training camp. It wasn't until late August that Peterson saw the field, but he ended up having his best career season in 2012.
For Pettigrew, a six or seven month rehab would be huge. The Lions are still perilously thin at tight end and while Pettigrew will probably be making more than he's worth, Detroit could really use his skills as a blocker.