On Sunday, the Detroit Lions were severely shorthanded on the offensive line. Not only was starting center Travis Swanson out of the game with an ankle injury, but Detroit was forced to use their third-string guard after Graham Glasgow slid to center and their backup guard, Joe Dahl, was out with a lower leg injury.
That left Zac Kerin as the starting left guard. Kerin signed with the team just two days after the Lions cut down to an initial 53-man roster. Kerin understandably didn’t play all that well against the Falcons, seeing as it was his first career NFL start and he was only with the team for a couple weeks prior the game.
The Detroit Lions are reportedly making a move to remedy this situation. According to his foundation’s Facebook page, offensive guard Tim Lelito will be signing with the Detroit Lions this week:
Rather a large story: @timlelito68's foundation has announced he will depart from TEN and return home to DET. @gvsufootball/SCHS alum. pic.twitter.com/POOvt9a9jE— Brendan Buffa (@bbuffa_WMU) September 25, 2017
The move has since been confirmed by The Detroit News, but the team has yet to announce the move.
If the name Tim Lelito sounds familiar, it’s because he visited with the team during free agency. Here’s what we had to say about him then:
“Lelito mostly played left guard for the Saints, but he has versatility to play all around the interior of the offensive line. Last year, he started one game under center for injured Max Unger. He also started a couple games at right guard in New Orleans. As for how he has performed?”
FWIW, Lelito is another guard that has a good pass blocking grade (76.8) vs. run blocking (60.2) via @PFF. Are we sure BQ isn't Stafford? https://t.co/oo9c6wTuDD— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) March 15, 2017
Lelito would end up signing with the Tennessee Titans shortly after his visit with Detroit. However, he was released by the Titans after initially making their 53-man roster.
Lelito is a hometown product, having grown up in St. Clair, Michigan. He played college ball at Grand Valley State, but went undrafted in 2013. In the pros, Lelito has started 24 total games, including seven last year with the Saints.
His versatility will come as a big welcome in Detroit, as the Lions could use more depth both at the center position and at left guard. If Swanson is out for another week, Lelito could either replace him, or replace Glasgow at left guard, especially if Joe Dahl needs more time to heal.
We’re still awaiting confirmation from the Lions, but according to Justin Rogers, this is a signing to the Lions’ 53-man roster. That means there is a corresponding move yet to be announced.