On Monday, the Detroit Lions designated edge defender Julian Okwara to return to practice. Okwara, who remains on injured reserve, can now practice with the team, starting immediately. Detroit will have a 21-day window to either activate Okwara to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the rest of the season. They can make that decision at any point during that window.
Okwara suffered what appeared to be an arm injury in the team’s preseason finale. While it seemed like that injury could jeopardize Okwara’s spot on the roster—as he was firmly on the roster bubble going into the final week of the preseason—the Lions, instead, opted to keep him on the initial 53-man roster, only to place him on IR a couple days later. By doing that, Okwara was allowed to return to action in 2023, whereas if he was placed on IR before the roster cutdowns, his season would be over.
That may have turned out to be a wise decision because the Lions have been hit pretty hard by the injury bug at Okwara’s position. James Houston, who plays an identical role to Okwara, suffered a serious ankle injury and is out for the foreseeable future. Detroit also lost Josh Paschal to IR after Week 1.
In three seasons with the Lions, Okwara has played in 29 games (starting three), logged 47 tackles, 7.0 sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble.
In addition to designating Okwara to return to practice, the Lions also signed wide receiver Trey Quinn to the practice squad. Quinn was with the Lions during training camp before suffering an injury in the preseason and getting waived. He fills the spot on the practice squad left by promoting tight end Darrell Daniels to the 53-man roster.
Oh, and this was also on the transaction wire today:
The commissioner officially reinstated three players from suspensions today: #Lions WR Jameson Williams, #Jaguars T Cam Robinson and #Titans Nicholas Petit-Frere.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 2, 2023
All three teams received a one-game roster exemption through next Monday, Oct. 9.
Jameson Williams is officially back, although he does not have to count against the roster for another week. If the Lions want to play him against the Panthers this week, they’ll have to officially activate him by Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. Detroit does still have an open roster spot on the 53-man roster if/when Williams is fully activated.