The Detroit Lions were hoping third-year wide Quintez Cephus would be able to return to the field in 2022, but after showing signs of regression during his 21-day evaluation period, the team has elected not to active him and, instead, has placed him on season-ending injured reserve.
Cephus was one of only two wide receivers to survive the regime change (practice squader Tom Kennedy is the other) because he brings a skill set to the position that the Lions lack: physicality. The Wisconsin product is capable of lining up at all of the Lions' receiver positions and is arguably their best contested catcher.
Unfortunately, Cephus was bit by the injury bug in 2022. He suffered a lower-body injury in training camp, falling hard to the ground after getting tangled up with Jeff Okudah, but was able to recover quicker than anticipated. He was back in the fold for the regular season, showing some newly-found skills on special teams, but he injured his foot in Week 4 and left Ford Field in a walking boot. He was placed on injured reserve later that week.
After two months on injured reserve, Cephus was ready to begin practicing and the Lions started his 21-day evaluation clock on December 7. Despite returning DJ Chark and Jameson Williams over the last several weeks, the Lions were still hopeful Cephus could return as another option in the receiver corps and on special teams.
Cephus was able to practice the first week of the evaluation process but when the second week began, he was absent. Because the Lions are not required to give injury updates on players on injured reserve, the reason why he was not at practice was unclear. When he didn’t return for the third week, it became clearer that he would likely not return to the field this season.
Now, after not being activated to the active roster, Cephus will return to injured reserve and will not have the option to return to action this season.
Fortunately, Cephus’ is still under contract with the Lions through the 2023 season and will have a chance to return to the team next season.