Wednesday morning Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia confirmed that rookie running back Kerryon Johnson will be headed to injured reserve, ending his year. However, Patricia also announced that cornerback/punt returner Jamal Agnew will be coming off injured reserve to join the 53-man roster.
Agnew was placed on injured reserve back in October after suffering a knee injury in Week 5 against the Packers. A couple of weeks ago, the team brought Agnew back to practice, and while he wasn’t doing all that much, it appears the Lions are confident enough to bring him back into the lineup.
Agnew doesn’t just bring his phenomenal return abilities to the team, but he also brings some much-needed help in the secondary. Detroit currently ranks 31st in passer rating allowed, and before his injury Agnew was getting significant playing time on defense, specifically as a nickel cornerback.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked to push through his situation,” Patricia said of Agnew, speaking both of his new defensive responsibilities and his injury situation.
While the loss of Kerryon will undoubtedly deprive some fans of a source of excitement and entertainment in the final two games, Agnew’s return could potentially bring some back. The 2017 All-Pro led the league in punt return average last year, and he was the only returner to find the end zone twice on punts.
UPDATE: The team made both moves official and also announced a small practice squad transaction:
The team also announced that they have signed free agent RB Justin Stockton to the practice squad and released G Salesi Uhatafe from the practice squad.