Detroit Lions’ Kenny Golladay set to return vs. Arizona Cardinals, but hamstring not 100%

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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Kenny Golladay’s strained hamstring is not 100%, but the Detroit Lions’ No. 1 receiver is expected to make his season debut Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

“God willing,” Golladay said by video conference Friday. “I’m going to try everything in my power to be out there with the guys.”

Golladay took part in his third straight practice Friday and ran a series of routes during individual drills while showing no sign of the injury that kept him out of action the last two weeks.

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The Lions officially listed him as questionable on their injury report.

“Definitely feeling a lot better,” Golladay said. “Wouldn’t say it’s 100%. I really wouldn’t even put a percentage on it, I just know I’m not 100%. Like I said, I’m going to do everything I can. Hopefully I showed enough that I can be out there.”

The Lions’ deep passing game has sputtered in Golladay’s absence the last two weeks, with Matthew Stafford completing just 2 of 8 passes that traveled more than 20 yards downfield.

Last year, Golladay led the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions and led the Lions with 65 catches and 1,190 yards.

No Detroit wide receiver has more than eight catches in the first two games, and Danny Amendola leads the group with 102 yards receiving.

“Obviously, he’s a player that had a ton of production for us the last couple years,” Stafford said. “He’s a guy that can stretch the field, he’s a big, physical player. Big catch radius, got good speed. You guys have watched Kenny play, you know what he’s capable of doing. I think the more weapons we can have out on the field, the better.”

Golladay said it pained him to watch the Lions lose double-digit leads the last two weeks, but he was trying to be smart with an injury he suffered Sept. 9 in practice.

“The NFL season’s kind of like a marathon,” he said. “Even though it’s 16 games, there’s still a lot of football left and me missing a couple games to try to be back hopefully for Week 3, that’s better than me missing six games.”

As a rookie in 2017, Golladay missed five games with a hamstring injury that he said he tried to return from too early. 

“When you’re a rookie you still feel like you got stuff to prove,” he said. “And me being this is my fourth year, I kind of know how the hammy works a little bit just getting hurt my rookie year.”

One of the NFL’s most dominant receivers when healthy, Golladay said he won’t be adjusting his season goals to account for his time missed.

“That just means I just got to go that much harder,” he said.

The Lions remain in talks with Golladay about a contract extension that would make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid receivers, with a salary perhaps approaching $20 million annually.

While Golladay said last month he was “pretty sure” a new contract was coming his way, that deal has yet to materialize.

He declined to put a timetable on talks Friday, or say at what point he’d table negotiations and wait for free agency.

“Really, like I say, I’m going to let those guys — the organization and my agent — handle it,” he said. “If these guys want me here I’m pretty sure they’ll figure out a way to keep me here.”

Along with Golladay, right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot) and defensive tackle Nick Williams (shoulder) are questionable for Sunday, though both are expected to play. Cornerback Desmond Trufant (hamstring) is doubtful after being a limited participant in practice Friday, tight end Hunter Bryant (hamstring) is out, and special teams ace C.J. Moore (calf) is questionable.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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