Lions rule out D-linemen Hand, Bryant, elevate DT Herron, WR Sanu

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

A day after the Detroit Lions ruled out three of their top offensive players for Sunday’s road game against the Carolina Panthers, it was the defense’s turn to absorb a pair of losses. The team announced both defensive tackle Da’Shawn Hand and defensive end Austin Bryant have been downgraded to out. 

Hand, who has battled durability issues throughout his first three seasons, had not missed a game in 2020. But a groin injury that limited him during Thursday and Friday’s practices proved to be severe enough to sideline him this week. 

As for Bryant, he’s been dealing with a thigh injury that also popped up mid-week.

Similar to Hand, Bryant has struggled to stay healthy early in his career. He was limited to four games as a rookie in 2019 due to multiple injuries, and only recently returned to the team this year after a lengthy stint on the physically unable to perform list. 

With defensive end Trey Flowers on injured reserve with an arm injury, the Lions immediately thrust Bryant into significant playing time. He earned the first start of his career last week against Washington, playing 44 of the team’s 88 defensive snaps. 

The bad news for the two defenders follows the announcement running back D’Andre Swift (concussion) and wide receivers Kenny Golladay (hip) and Danny Amendola (hip) won’t play on Sunday. 

To address two immediate concerns with depth ahead of the matchup with Carolina, Detroit is elevating defensive tackle Frank Herron and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu off the practice squad. 

Herron has spent parts of the past two seasons with the Lions, splitting time between the practice squad and main roster. He was similarly elevated last week, playing 21 defensive snaps in the win against Washington. 

Sanu joined the Lions earlier this month and coach Matt Patricia recently raved about how the veteran receiver has looked on the practice field. 

“Mohamed Sanu’s been awesome,” Patricia said. “I’ve obviously competed against him for a long time. I have the utmost respect for him as a player, competitor. Everything that he brings every single day has been great. It’s been great to be around, and I think he’s worked really hard, obviously, just trying to learn as fast as he can in our system and really just learn the team and go out and work every single day. He’s run some really good routes on the practice field. He’s done a good job of helping us on both sides of the ball and helping the defense get ready in some situations, and obviously stepping in on offense. I think he just is continuing to learn and just grow and (I’m) just really pleased with where he’s headed right now.”

Drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, Sanu has spent the majority of his career between there and Atlanta, where he started in Super Bowl LI in 2017.

For his career, the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder has caught 404 passes for 4,516 and 26 touchdowns.

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