Berryhill was signed to the Lions practice squad roughly three weeks ago but has already played in two games operating as wide receiver depth (1 offensive snap) and as one of the team's starting gunners (16 special teams snaps). In Week 8, Berryhill was elevated from the practice squad, then in Week 9, he was signed to the active roster the day before the game, and now, released the day after.
So, why such a short stint on the roster?
Well, we actually predicted this would happen when he was signed last Saturday because the team has already taken this quick turnaround approach twice this season with wide receiver Maurice Alexander.
Basically, there are a few reasons why the Lions would sign Berryhill, only to release him 48 hours later.
The first centers around practice squad elevations. Every player on the practice squad is eligible to be elevated for a game three times per season, so teams want to be cautious about when they utilize them. Berryhill was elevated in Week 8, using up one of his three opportunities, but by signing him to the roster in Week 9, they do not use an elevation and therefore he still has two remaining.
The second reason has to do with the elevation process. When a player is elevated, they simply revert back to the practice squad following the game and do not have to pass through waivers. The Lions elevated brothers Shane and Brandon Zylstra from the practice squad this week and may not have wanted to risk losing either to the waiver system. Now, because Berryhill was on the active roster, he will be subjected to waivers, but if/when he clears, he will likely return to the Lions practice squad.
The final reason Berryhill was released was roster flexibility. The Lions have several players on reserve lists that are eligible to return to the active roster, such as Jameson Williams, Quintez Cephus, Tommy Kraemer, and Jason Cabinda. Of those four, Cabinda is the only one practicing—the Lions started his 21-day evaluation window last week—but if he is healthy enough to return for this weekend’s game, they now have an open roster spot to add him, without having to make another corresponding move.
Expect this spot to remain open throughout the week, and then the Lions will decide how to fill it on Saturday, as has been their standard operating procedure.