Matthew Stafford’s favorite target is dealing with a new hamstring injury three days before the Detroit Lions open the season against the Chicago Bears.
Lions coach Matt Patricia said leading receiver Kenny Golladay suffered a hamstring injury in practice Wednesday that landed him on the injury report.
Patricia did not sound concerned about the injury in his pre-practice video conference, but it was significant enough that Golladay did not take part in individual drills Thursday.
“Just for us it was just something that happened yesterday and we were just trying to make sure we did a good job taking a look at it,” Patricia said. “Coming off a couple days off … so guys were a little bit tight, guys were a little bit sore.”
Golladay led the NFL with 11 touchdown catches and had a career-high 1,190 yards receiving last season.
He had a strong training camp and is in line for a big contract extension in the near future that should make him one of the highest-paid wide receivers in football.
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“I think he’s matured from a third-rounder into a very good No. 1 receiver for you,” NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin said Wednesday. “I really like his development. I know he made the Pro Bowl, but making the Pro Bowl (isn’t what it used to be) since so many people don’t go.
“But still, it’s still a great accomplishment for a young receiver. And that gives you that confidence cause you’re hanging over there with some of the greatest players in the game, you start feeling like you deserve and like you’re supposed to be over there.”
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Irvin stopped short of calling Golladay one of the 10 best receivers in football.
“To say he’s in the top five or the top 10, I don’t know that I would say that. I do know that I won’t say that,” he said.
But Golladay projects to be a major part of a passing game this fall that should carry a Lions team breaking in two new starters on the offensive line and dealing with injuries in the running game.
If Golladay, who missed five games as a rookie with a pulled hamstring, can’t play Sunday, one of Marvin Hall, converted cornerback Jamal Agnew or rookie Quintez Cephus will be in line for expanded playing time.
Rookie running back D’Andre Swift took part in individual drills Thursday after he was limited Wednesday with a hip injury, but right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai did not practice Thursday because of a foot injury.
Tight end Hunter Bryant and special teams ace C.J. Moore also sat out with hamstring injuries. Slot receiver Danny Amendola was in drills Thursday after being limited Wednesday with a sore hamstring.
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.