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Detroit Lions UDFA rookie DB Jermaine Waller placed on reserve/retired list

Just a month into his NFL career, cornerback Jermaine Waller has opted to step away from football and retire.

NFL Combine Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions announced on Wednesday that rookie corner Jermaine Waller has been placed on the reserve/retired list.

Waller participated in the Lions’ rookie minicamp and the first two weeks of organized team activities (OTAs), but was not at the first day of mandatory minicamp; it’s now clear why that was the case.

After starting three years at Virginia Tech, Waller went undrafted this past April and signed with the Lions following the NFL Draft. Though he played in a mostly zone-based scheme at VT, Waller showed the ability to play press-man, and that made him an interesting prospect for Detroit. His lack of long speed likely led to him going undrafted, but his play speed appeared better than his timed speed and was given a chance to earn a job in the NFL.

Waller’s contract with the Lions featured a $10,000 signing bonus and $55,000 in guaranteed base salary. That means the Lions will absorb a $65,000 cap hit in 2021 from this roster move.

With the departure of Waller, the Lions still have 18 defensive backs on their roster. That includes nine corners, six safeties, and three players who have been cross-training at both corner and safety: Will Harris, Ifeatu Melifonwu, and Saivion Smith. This move also opens one spot on the 90-man roster for the Lions.

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