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Detroit Lions re-sign RB Craig Reynolds, move Julian Okwara to IR

The Detroit Lions brought back RB Craig Reynolds, while EDGE defender Julian Okwara will have to sit out for the first four weeks of the season.

NFL: AUG 25 Preseason - Lions at Panthers Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As we hear at Pride of Detroit predicted after the Detroit Lions’ initial roster cuts, running back Craig Reynolds is back on the 53-man roster. The Lions announced they have re-signed Reynolds on Thursday, with a corresponding move of Julian Okwara to the injured reserve list.

If you’re wondering why the Lions had to make this odd roster maneuver, we explained it in this post on Tuesday. Here’s the basic gist: if the Lions wanted to put Okwara on injured reserve but didn’t want him out for the entire season, he had to make the initial roster, and then be put on IR after 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. If they had placed him on IR earlier, he’d have to sit the entire season.

So, to create a temporary roster spot for Okwara—while avoiding the risk of losing a young player on waivers—the Lions cut Reynolds, knowing he’s a veteran who is not subject to waivers and wouldn’t cost the team any dead money for releasing him. They likely told Reynolds they plan on re-signing him to at least the same contract terms he already had—maybe even a slight bump for the inconvenience.

Nevertheless, Reynolds is back and is slotted to be the team’s RB3 behind David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs. He could even be the team’s starting kick returner, although that has yet to be decided publicly. To help build out the running back room, the Lions also recently signed Zonovan Knight to the practice squad.

As for Okwara, he’ll have to sit out for at least the first four weeks of the season. However, that could be a blessing in disguise, as he was already on the roster bubble as the seventh edge defender on the roster. This affords him the opportunity to get healthy and if the Lions are in an injury predicament in a month, he could even find his way back onto the gameday roster.

In addition to these roster moves, the Lions made the following practice squad signings official:

  • QB David Blough
  • RB Zonovan Knight
  • WR Daurice Fountain
  • G Michael Niese
  • DL Quinton Bohanna
  • EDGE Raymond Johnson

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.