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Romeo Okwara activated from physically unable to perform list, Julian Okwara to IR

One Okwara comes in, another goes out.

Detroit Lions v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

It isn’t just Jameson Williams who could be seeing his first action of the season this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Exactly 14 months ago to the date, defensive end Romeo Okwara suffered a torn Achilles. On Saturday, the Lions also announced that Okwara has been activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list, making him eligible to play this week.

Okwara was the team’s best pass rusher in 2020. He tallied a team-high 10 sacks, and his 61 pressures (via PFF) was 40 more than anyone else on the team (and ranked him eighth in the NFL). To reward his excellent play, general manager Brad Holmes—who was just a couple months on the job—gave Okwara a three-year, $37 million extension. Unfortunately, Okwara’s Achilles injury happened just four games into that contract.

Like Williams, it’s uncertain how big Okwara’s role will be on Sunday against the Jaguars. However, given the precedent the Lions have set, if Okwara plays at all, it will likely be a limited role. And with Aidan Hutchinson, Josh Paschal, John Cominsky, and James Houston all active and healthy, there is no reason to push Okwara beyond his limits.

Unfortunately, with the news of Romeo Okwara’s return, also comes the bad news about his brother, Julian Okwara. Julian suffered an elbow injury during the team’s Thanksgiving Day game last week and has now been placed on injured reserve. With only six games left and a minimum stay of four games on IR, it’s quite possible that Julian’s season is over.

Lastly, the Lions announced that they’ve temporarily elevated center Ross Pierschbacher from the practice squad. With backup center Evan Brown still out with an ankle injury, Pierschbacher will likely serve as the emergency option behind All-Pro center Frank Ragnow.

To recap Saturday’s moves:

  • WR Jameson Williams activated from NFI-reserve
  • EDGE Romeo Okwara activated from PUP-reserve
  • EDGE Julian Okwara placed on IR
  • C Ross Pierschbacher elevated from practice squad

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