At his Wednesday press conference, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell notified the media that the team had activated offensive lineman Matt Nelson and wide receiver Trinity Benson from the reserve/COVID-19 list and they will be available for practice immediately.
Nelson began the season as the Lions starting right tackle, while Taylor Decker was dealing with a hand injury. Once Decker returned to his starting role, Nelson shifted back to a reserve role but was given the opportunity to expand his game as the team's sixth offensive lineman.
Nelson thrived in that role, where his above-average athleticism allowed him to dominate in the run game. When the Lions have opted to use other linemen in the role, it has not been nearly as effective as when Nelson is in the game, so his return will be a welcomed one—especially with the injury issues the Lions have incurred at tight end recently.
“Certainly having Nelson back, that helps,” Campbell said. “He can do a little bit of stuff (at tight end).”
With only recently signed Jared Pinkney (formerly of the Lions’ and Rams’ practice squads) currently on the active roster, the Lions could realistically use Nelson as OL6 and TE2 against the Seahawks this week.
“You never know,” Campbell continued. “He’s got to be ready to do that, I know that. After what happened last week, had he been up, he would have been running routes for us.”
Benson, even when healthy, hasn’t been activated in recent weeks, but with Josh Reynolds currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Benson could find himself in line for some important snaps.