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Lions roster cuts: Sam Martin to stay on NFI list, Matt Asiata released

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The Lions will start 2017 with a new punter.

NFL: Detroit Lions-Minicamp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Back at the beginning of camp Detroit Lions head coach said that he expected to see Sam Martin at some point during training camp. Martin was a surprise addition to the Lions’ Non-Football Injury list due to an unexplained ankle injury.

But the Lions never saw Martin during training camp. He remained out for the entire preseason, and now, as first reported by the Detroit Free Press, it appears Martin will stay on the NFI list to start the regular season:

Martin was second in the league in net punting average in 2016 and had just signed an extension before the start of that season. Now he will miss at least the first six games of the season.

Kasey Redfern will take over punting and kickoff duties. Redfern impressed during the preseason, averaging 45.3 yards per punt with a 41.3 net average.

In addition to this move, the Lions have cut running back Matt Asiata. The Lions were looking for some competition at running back, and added the power runner behind Zach Zenner. Asiata has a lot of experience at the position and even has capabilities as a fullback. But Detroit no longer has a fullback on the roster, and they’ve decided that Asiata doesn’t fit the team’s needs.

Asiata’s release means that Dwayne Washington has almost assuredly won the RB4 position, unless Tion Green’s final push somehow overtook Washington.