Less than 24 hours before the Detroit Lions will take the field for their first game of the season, they have made a minor roster move. The Lions have promoted offensive tackle Storm Norton from the practice squad and released linebacker Nick Bellore to make room.
Norton’s promotion likely has to do with Corey Robinson’s availability against the Arizona Cardinals. Robinson was taken off the Physically Unable to Perform list just a week ago and has been limited in practice all week while he continues to recover from foot surgery. This move suggests either Robinson isn’t healthy enough to play or is still playing catch up in terms of conditioning and learning the playbook.
If Robinson isn’t active on gameday, that leaves only Storm Norton and recently acquired Brian Mihalik as the healthy backups on the roster.
Bellore’s release comes after he surprisingly made the Lions’ final 53-man roster over Antwione Williams. Bellore was likely kept because of his special teams value, but apparently that wasn’t good enough to make the gameday roster for Week 1.
But don’t be surprised to see Bellore back next week. Salaries for veterans become fully guaranteed if the player is on the team’s Week 1 roster. Because Detroit released Bellore, they ensured that his $775,000 salary is no longer fully guaranteed for the season. If Bellore isn’t signed by another team, the Lions can bring him back without worrying about a fully-guaranteed salary in 2017.