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TE Hunter Bryant clears waivers, returns to Lions reserve/NFI list

Hunter Bryant has returned to the Lions’ roster, but it appears he has a serious injury.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It turns out tight end Hunter Bryant may not be going anywhere. A day after the Detroit Lions waived him with a non-football injury designation, the young tight end has cleared waivers and reverted back to the Lions’ reserve/non-football injury list, per the NFL’s transaction list.

Typically we see players moved to the active/non-football injury (NFI) list prior to training camp if the player is not ready to practice. If the player is still not ready to play by the beginning of the season, they are moved to the reserve/non-football injury list. That means the player would have to miss, at least, the first six games of the NFL season while the player heals.

In this case, Bryant will stay on the Lions roster, but won’t count against the team’s 90-man limit at this point in the offseason. His base salary will also not count against the cap.

It’s unclear because this is an uncommon case, but I believe it also means Bryant’s injury is serious enough where the Lions have already decided to shelve him for at least the first six games of the 2021 season.

Bryant flashed his athleticism and pass-catching skills as an undrafted rookie in training camp last year, but injuries kept him out of the lineup for most of the season. In total, he played five games and caught just one pass.

This offseason, the Lions altered their tight end room slightly. They released Jesse James after two disappointing seasons and added former Saints tight end Josh Hill. They also have Alize Mack and Hunter Thedford on the roster, but neither has played in an NFL game in their careers.