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Taylor Decker returning to practice this week, staying at left tackle

Decker is finally returning to practice (again), and the Lions aren’t moving him from the blind side.

Detroit Lions Training Camp Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

During the bye week, the Detroit Lions activated left tackle Taylor Decker from injured reserve. At the time, it wasn’t clear if they did it simply because they were at the end of the 21-day window to make a decision, or if it was because Decker was actually close to returning to practice. On Monday, head coach Dan Campbell confirmed that Decker would return back to practice on Wednesday.

Decker suffered a finger injury in practice before Week 1 and it was serious enough to require surgery. The Lions returned Decker to practice four weeks ago, but aggravated the injury after just two practices and hasn’t seen the field since.

Campbell isn’t ready to declare Decker ready to play again, but he did say the veteran left tackle is eager to get back into the game.

“I looked at him today and he had the right look in his eye and I know he’s ready to go,” Campbell said. “I can tell he’s excited about jumping in there and starting to rep the left tackle position.”

That last part is notable, because there has been an ongoing debate outside of the building whether the Lions should return Decker to left tackle or keep rookie Penei Sewell there. The Lions 2021 seventh overall pick has had his ups and downs replacing Decker, but he seems to have recently settled in at the position.

Campbell, however, does not appear to have any concern about moving Sewell to right tackle—where he was repping most during the offseason.

“I think he’ll go over there and won’t miss a beat,” Campbell said. “It’ll be a little odd, but I also know he’s got enough reps over there. And, look, he’s a damn good athlete, and he’s a professional. He wants to win. He wants to win his reps, so I think he’ll go over there and do just fine.”

Just because Decker is returning to practice doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be ready to play this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Campbell says they need to assess how he responds to practice this week.

“Until Wednesday comes and we get through that practice, I won’t know a lot,” Campbell said. “We’re certainly prepared if he’s got the right look, and you can tell he knows he’s ready and he feels good and we get through it, then we’ll move that way.”