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Report: Detroit Lions signing Pro Bowl tight end amidst injuries

With Brock Wright suffering an injury and James Mitchell already on IR, the Lions are adding to their tight end room.

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

According to several reports—first announced by NFL Network—the Detroit Lions are signing Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz to the practice squad ahead of the team’s NFC Championship game.

The Lions have incurred a bunch of injuries at the tight end position in the last couple weeks. Sam LaPorta has somehow played through a hyperextended knee and bone bruise, but second-year tight end James Mitchell is now on injured reserve after suffering a hand injury in practice. And on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brock Wright suffered a broken forearm. That has left the Lions with just two healthy tight ends: LaPorta and Anthony Firkser.

Ertz, however, will give Detroit another option, and one with serious pedigree. Ertz is a 12-year NFL veteran who has made the Pro Bowl three times in his career. He most recently played for the Arizona Cardinals earlier this season, hauling in 27 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown in seven game appearances.

It’ll be hard for Ertz to learn the playbook and have a meaningful impact in Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, but the veteran tight end will have a couple things working in his favor. For one, he’s played in 151 NFL games this season, and he’s likely seen just about every offensive system this game has to offer. Additionally, he’s already worked alongside Lions tight ends coach Steve Heiden, from their shared time with the Cardinals.

Ertz has played in eight career playoff games, including the Super Bowl with the Eagles on their 2017 championship team. In those eight career games, Ertz has 36 catches for 381 yards and two touchdowns.

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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.