It turns out Ezekiel Ansah (and Andy Jones) won’t be the only players starting training camp on the injury list. The Detroit Lions announced on Thursday evening that two key players have been placed on the non-football injury (NFI) list.
Linebacker Devon Kennard and defensive end Cornelius Washington have been placed on the NFI list. The NFI list acts a lot like the PUP list. A player can come off the list at any time, but if the player remains on the NFI list throughout the preseason, he can be placed on the reserve/NFI list, making him ineligible for six weeks of the regular season. The only difference is the injury was suffered away from the football field (in practice or game situations).
Oftentimes, players who fail a physical or the conditioning tests upon reporting to camp are placed on the NFI list until they are able to pass those tests required to participate in practice.
At this point, there doesn’t seem to be any big cause for concern, but if the two players remain on the NFI list for long, it would be a big hit to an already ailing front seven. Kennard is expected to be a key piece on that side of the ball this year, as he was Detroit’s biggest free agent acquisition. While Washington is hoping to turn around his Lions career after a disappointing 2017 season.
The Lions also announced a few other transactions on the eve of the first training camp practice. The team confirmed the signing of Ricky Jean Francois, and also announced the signing of linebacker Darnell Sankey. Sankey was an undrafted free agent out of Sacramento State in 2016, and has already jumped to the rosters of six different teams. He was most recently on the Colts, but was waived shortly after the NFL Draft. Sankey has yet to appear in a regular season game.
To make room for both signings, the Lions have waived linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton and offensive lineman Beau Nunn.