During Sunday’s game, the Detroit Lions got snakebitten at the tight end position. With T.J. Hockenson already out for the year, the Lions entered Week 16 with just Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra (who was elevated for the game) on the roster, along with fullback/tight end Jason Cabinda to help out. Early in that game, the Lions lost both Cabinda and Zylstra to injury, forcing the Lions to change their game plan.
On Monday, head coach Dan Campbell noted that Zylstra’s season was over (with a reported fractured kneecap) and that Cabinda could miss this week’s game.
But that’s not where the bad news ends at the tight end position. Detroit’s one remaining healthy tight end on the roster is healthy no more. On Tuesday, the Lions placed Wright on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The way the current COVID protocols stand, if Wright is vaccinated, he could potentially return in time to play in Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. If he is unvaccinated, he would have to quarantine for 10 days and would miss Sunday’s game. That being said, there are discussions being had in the NFL about reducing the quarantine time to just five days, given the latest CDC recommendations. If that’s the case, Wright could be cleared—regardless of vaccinations status—by Sunday, but it would be a tight window.
UPDATE: Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL has now adopted the new five-day quarantine policy:
NFL and NFLPA now have adopted the new CDC guidelines that reduce the quarantine time to 5 days from 10 days for all Covid positive players who are asymptomatic, including those who are unvaccinated, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 28, 2021
As a direct result, the Lions signed tight end Jared Pinkney from the Los Angeles Rams’ practice squad. If that name sounds familiar, it should. He spent a little over a month on the Lions’ practice squad at the beginning of the year. He was released by Detroit on October 12, then swiped up by the Rams a week later.
Pinkney has never made an NFL appearance after going undrafted in 2020 and spending most of the season on the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad. However, with Detroit currently having zero healthy tight ends on the 53-man roster, he has a chance to start this week.
Detroit also has two tight ends on the practice squad: former Michigan Wolverine Nick Eubanks and veteran Ross Travis, who was also signed today.
Elsewhere on the roster, the Lions placed linebacker Josh Woods on injured reserve. Woods missed last week’s game due to a neck injury suffered early in Week 15. To replace Woods, the Lions signed Curtis Bolton from the practice squad, as reported earlier in the day.
Finally, the Lions activated defensive lineman Jashon Cornell from the reserve/Non-Football Injury list. Cornell had returned to practice three weeks ago and is now eligible to return to play immediately.
Here’s a full list of the Lions’ transactions from Tuesday:
- LB Josh Woods placed on IR
- LB Curtis Bolton signed from practice squad to active roster
- TE Brock Wright placed on reserve/COVID
- TE Jared Pinkney signed to 53-man roster from Rams practice squad
- DL Jashon Cornell activated from reserve/NFI
- WR Juwan Green signed to practice squad
- TE Ross Travis signed to practice squad
- CB Chris Williamson released from practice squad