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2017 Detroit Lions roster review: Thank you for your service, Kasey Redfern

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Kasey Redfern’s season didn’t go as the Lions (or Redfern) planned.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve reached the end of our roster review for players that are set to become free agents, and we’ve saved the... saddest for last. Kasey Redfern was never supposed to be part of the equation for 2017, but his brief time on the team was a notable one. Here is our review for Lions punter Kasey Redfern.

[Editor’s note: Our roster review series will continue with players signed for the 2018 season to examine their roles going forward]

Kasey Redfern

Expectations before 2017

The Lions signed Redfern back in April of 2017. At the time, the signing was assumed to be just a camp body addition to help the Lions’ starting punter Sam Martin take some reps off during offseason practices. At the time, here’s what I wrote about the signing.

“Assuming there is no secret injury to Sam Martin, Redfern will be nothing more than a camp body for Detroit.”

Well, flash forward a few months later, and Martin did end up suffering a secret injury. Martin started training camp on the PUP list, but Jim Caldwell downplayed the injury and said he expected him to be ready by the regular season. Unfortunately, that turned out not to be true, and Redfern was expected to be the starter for at least the first six weeks of the season.

His preseason was good enough—averaging 45.3 yards per punt with seven pinned inside the 20-yard line and just one touchback. So there wasn’t much worry heading into the 2017 season.

Actual role in 2017

2017 stats: 1 game, 1 punt for 50 yards, 1 rush for 10 yards

Kasey Redfern’s 2017 season didn’t even last 10 minutes. In his second punt attempt of the season, he bobbled a perfect snap in his own endzone, panicked, thought about kicking it anyways before scrambling 10 yards, only to be pancaked by a defender.

Redfern would suffer a brutal injury—a torn ACL and MCL—and his season was over just minutes after kicking his first career NFL punt. The Lions found Jeff Locke to replace Redfern until Martin was finally ready to return.

Outlook for 2018

Contract Status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent

The Lions kept Redfern on the roster instead of offering him an injury settlement, so there is a chance he stays in Detroit in 2018 as the team’s camp punter. Though Sam Martin struggled in 2017, there’s no reason to believe he’ll relinquish his job as starter.

That being said, Redfern played well enough in the preseason to warrant at least a little competition, and as an exclusive-right free agent, he’ll cost the Lions next-to-nothing to keep him around.

However, Redfern reportedly had to wait until December to get surgery on his ACL, because of swelling and the necessary healing of his MCL. It’s not exactly clear when he’ll be ready, though doctors expect him to be 100 percent by next season. Will the Lions be willing to wait a little bit for him to be ready or will Redfern have to find a new opportunity in 2018? We’ll find out soon enough.

Previously: DE Dwight Freeney, LB Tahir Whitehead , DE Ezekiel Ansah, S Tavon Wilson, CB Nevin Lawson, LS Don Muhlbach, LB Paul Worrilow, WR TJ Jones, TE Darren Fells, OT Greg Robinson, DT Jordan Hill, CB DJ Hayden, S Don Carey, LB Nick Bellore, G Don Barclay, RB Mike James, C Travis Swanson, QB Jake Rudock, G Zac Kerin, LB/DE Brandon Copeland, RB Zach Zenner, DT Haloti Ngata, DT Rodney Coe, DE Kerry Hyder, QB Alek Torgersen, DT Christian Ringo