The Detroit Lions took the field on Wednesday afternoon for their first day of practice in preparation for their Week 3 matchup against the New England Patriots. Unfortunately for the Lions, they were without one of their best players.
Cornerback Darius Slay, who left Sunday’s game against the 49ers with a concussion, was not in attendance during Wednesday’s practice. This suggests that Slay is not yet at Stage 4 of the concussion protocol. According to the league’s concussion protocol, a player must go through five different steps of recovery—nicely outlined by MLive’s Nate Atkins here. Step 4 is “football-specific activities” which includes non-contact drills at practice. In order to be cleared for Sunday’s practice, Slay must also be cleared for full contact practice. So if Slay can’t even participate in non-contract drills by Thursday, it seems unlikely he’ll play this week.
The Lions made a proactive move on Wednesday, signing defensive back DeShawn Shead back to the team. Shead spent training camp with the Lions competing for the No. 2 corner position with Nevin Lawson and Teez Tabor, eventually losing the job to both and getting cut. Considering Lawson and Tabor’s struggles through two weeks, we may see Shead play regardless of whether Slay returns or not.
As noted by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, history is not on Slay’s side here. Six different Lions players suffered concussions last season, and only one was able to return the following week. However, Glover Quin, the one exception, had an extra week to recover because of the bye week.
The Lions did get a big of good news, however. Starting right guard T.J. Lang, who missed all of last week’s practice with a back injury, returned to the field on Wednesday. Full injury designations will be given later Wednesday afternoon.