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Lions release Don Carey, add Marcus Cooper

The Lions welcomed a new corner by cutting special teams help.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Thanksgiving day wasn’t a particularly fun day to be a Lions fan after the Lions squandered the game late and inevitably lost. But there was a bright spot: the return of long time Lion Don Carey to the franchise’s special teams unit.

Don actually had a pretty good game. His presence was felt on a unit that’s been a massive train wreck plagued by holding and illegal block penalties all year long. Don’s leadership was always felt on special teams and throughout the locker room, which is why it was shocking when the Lions did not bring him back in the offseason. Even more shocking is the Lions’ decision to cut him Friday to make room for Marcus Cooper.

Cooper is not a bad addition. He’s been in the league for a few years now and has made a name for himself with years in Kansas City, Arizona, and even a Pro Bowl Alternate 2017 season with the Cardinals. A hamstring injury has held him back in 2018, though, and the Bears have decided to cut bait. It’s a smart risk for the Lions, a team whose once promising secondary is falling apart before our very eyes.

It makes sense to bring in Cooper, but cutting Don Carey makes no sense. Unless, of course, you look at it through speculative goggles. Don is 31 years old. Things didn’t work out in Jacksonville like he had hoped. Maybe it’s possible that Don came back for just one game for the team he spent nearly his entire career with. It would certainly make Don leading the team out of the locker room on Thursday make a little more sense. Perhaps Don will soon announce his retirement form the NFL?

If not, I don’t know what’s going on here.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.