On Sunday, the Detroit Lions announced that they have placed a handful of players on the injury lists ahead of training camp. Cornerback Jerry Jacobs, defensive ends Romeo Okwara and Josh Pachal have all been placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, while Jameson Williams and linebacker Natrez Patrick have been placed on the non-football injury list.
The NFI and PUP lists work essentially the same. Players placed on the preseason PUP/NFI list are eligible to come off of the list and participate in camp at any time during the preseason. If a player remains on the PUP/NFI list until the end of the preseason, teams have an option to place those players on the regular season PUP/NFI list, which means they would have to sit out the first four games of the season (in previous years, it was six games). Players cannot be placed on the PUP/NFI list after training camp begins.
So in other words, while it appears these players won’t be ready for the start of training camp, it’s entirely possible some of these miss only a few practices.
If you’re wondering why Williams is on the NFI list, it’s about when his injury happened—during the National Championship game—and carryover injuries from college are considered non-football injuries because they didn’t happen at the NFL level.
None of these players’ placement on the list is particularly surprising. Jameson Williams suffered a torn ACL in January and head coach Dan Campbell said back in June that he didn’t expect Williams to be ready to start camp. Okwara tore his Achilles last October, and did not look particularly close to participating during spring practices. Jacobs promised he’d be back from his December ACL tear “sooner than you think” but he was also sidelined during all offseason activities.
Less is known about the status of second-round rookie Josh Paschal. According to Campbell, during OTAs Paschal aggravated a core injury he was dealing with at the end of his college career at Kentucky, but the severity of the injury is unclear.
“We’re trying to be smart with him,” Campbell said during minicamp. “He’s got a lower extremity injury, but just trying to be smart.”
Notably, Jeff Okudah was not placed on the PUP list. The Lions' third-year cornerback has been aggressively attacking his rehab since suffering a torn Achilles last September. He was still limited in the Lions’ offseason program, but he looked close to ready. It’s also notable that tight end James Mitchell, who was recovering from an ACL injury is not on the NFI list. He did not participate in spring practices but said he expected to be cleared by June. It appears he was correct.
It’s worth noting, however, that veterans are reporting to camp on Tuesday, so it’s still entirely possible that Okudah and others land on the PUP list before the first practice on Wednesday.