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Lions elevate rookie James Houston, center Ross Pierschbacher from practice squad

The Lions’ sixth-round pick will get his first NFL shot after being called up the day before Thanksgiving.

Atlanta Falcons vs Detroit Lions Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions announced on Wednesday that they have elevated two players from the practice squad—and for both players, it’s the first time they’ll have a chance to play for the team this year. Most noteworthy, Lions sixth-round rookie James Houston has been elevated to the active roster, as well as reserve center Ross Pierschbacher.

Houston was likely elevated due to the Lions’ being shorthanded on the edge. Rookie Josh Paschal and veteran Charles Harris have been declared out for Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, and Romeo Okwara is still not ready to come off of the Physically Unable to Perform list, even though he returned to practice last week.

Houston had an absolutely monster 2021 season with Jackson State, tallying 24.5 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks. A few weeks ago, coach Dan Campbell said he was eager to get a chance to see Houston on the field.

“We have a lot of guys left to get a good look at. I mean I’d love to find a way to get Houston up at some point,” Campbell said in late October.

It’s unclear how much playing time Houston will get on defense, but with Austin Bryant struggling in a rotational role, it’s possible he’ll get a shot. If not, he’ll likely serve a role on special teams.

With Evan Brown, Jonah Jackson, and Tommy Kraemer all out, the Lions didn’t have another player on the active roster capable of backing up Frank Ragnow at center. Pierschbacher, a former fifth-round pick, is capable of playing guard and center, and started 57 games at Alabama in college but has never played in an NFL game.

Additionally, by adding Pierschbacher, the Lions now have eight offensive linemen they can keep active on game day, thus allowing them to take advantage of the game day roster expansion rule, which allows the team to expand their roster from 46 to 48 players.

Both Houston and Pierschbacher will revert back to the practice squad after Thursday’s game.

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