As feared, the Detroit Lions have shut down cornerback and All-Pro returner Jamal Agnew by placing him on the Injured Reserve. Agnew suffered a knee injury against the Green Bay Packers, though the extent of the injury is currently unknown. There is a chance he could return this season, but that all hinges on his recovery and the Lions’ playoff hopes.
This leaves an opening at the punt returner position, though it will be hard to replace the electric second-year player. Brandon Powell, who starred in the preseason as a receiver and returner, could be given a shot. Elsewhere, receivers Golden Tate or TJ Jones are replacement options. Finally, Ameer Abdullah could possibly see action as a punt returner, though he has been limited to kick returns in recent years.
To fill Agnew’s spot on the roster, the Lions have promoted linebacker Trevor Bates to the active roster. Bates survived the initial preseason cut, but was waived soon after for Marquis Flowers. Now with Flowers gone, Bates has reclaimed his spot. Bates made Pro Football Focus’s All-Preseason Team, and could see some action in a linebacker group that has struggled.
The Lions also signed linebacker Garret Dooley to the practice squad. The 6-foot-2, 248 pound edge rusher from Wisconsin signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Dooley was waived during preseason cuts, and was signed to their practice squad. However, he was released a month later on October 1. With the promotion of Eric Lee last month, Dooley is the only pass rusher on the practice squad.