The Detroit Lions made a flurry of moves on Wednesday morning, including a couple of significant transactions.
First and foremost, Julian Okwara—the Lions’ third-round pick this year—has been placed on injured reserve. Okwara injured his leg during Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and did not return. He appeared to be on his way to finally getting some playing time—he had played in five snaps in the first half after totalling just 25 all season.
At this point, it’s unclear whether Okwara’s injury is a short-term issue he could return from in three games, or if this is a more serious injury. Here’s what head coach Matt Patricia said about Okwara’s injury:
“I don’t think we’ll put a timetable on Julian’s situation. We’ll just kind of take it as it comes. I would say it’s just day-by-day at the moment, week-by-week. But it’ll be a couple weeks here, but we’ll see what it looks like.”
In what is an interesting coincidence, the Lions also announced that edge defender Austin Bryant will return to practice this week after starting the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Bryant, a fourth-round pick last year, plays the same position as Okwara, and could potentially pick up the slack left by his injury. Bryant hasn’t provided much of a pass rush yet in his oft-injured career, but general manager Bob Quinn picked him out specifically as someone who could make an impact this year.
“You guys saw glimpses of him last year, but he’s a guy that we’re counting on to do some things this year for us, in terms of pass rush,” Quinn said this offseason.
Bryant remains on the PUP list, but the Lions can now activate him to the active roster any time during the next 21 days.
To take Okwara’s immediate place on the 53-man roster, the Lions re-signed cornerback Chris Jones, who the Lions had signed a month ago. He was released last week to make room for Joe Dahl, who came off IR.
The Lions also made three roster moves on the practice squad:
- Signed OT Dan Skipper, TE Matt Sokol
- Waived P Arryn Siposs
Another interesting note here is that nickel cornerback Justin Coleman remains on injured reserve despite being eligible to return to practice.