After losing their kicker to the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, the Detroit Lions added a long snapper and punter for special teams insurance to their practice squad among a string of moves Saturday.
The Lions placed defensive tackle Kevin Strong on injured reserve after downgrading him from questionable to out for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the day.
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Strong suffered a brain injury in the Lions’ season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers and also was dealing with a thigh injury.
The Lions elevated practice squad kicker Ryan Santoso to the 53-man roster — Santoso is expected to handle kicking duties Sunday after the Lions placed Austin Seibert on reserve/COVID on Thursday — and signed long snapper Beau Brinkley and punter Lachlan Edwards to the practice squad.
With expanded 16-player practice squads, it has become commonplace for NFL teams to carry extra specialists in case they lose their starter to COVID.
Santoso, who signed with the Lions as an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota in 2018, is on his fourth team in a month.
The New York Giants traded Santoso to the Carolina Panthers in late August, but the 49ers waived after he missed an extra point in their season-opening win over the New York Jets.
Santoso spent four days on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad, then joined the Lions this week.
Strong is the ninth Lion to land on injured reserve since the start of training camp, and the third this week, joining rookie cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu (quad) and receiver Tyrell Williams (concussion).
Cornerback Jeff Okudah, defensive tackle Da’Shawn Hand, backup quarterback Tim Boyle, offensive tackles Taylor Decker and Tyrell Crosby, and linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton also are on IR. All but Crosby (who will be waived once healthy) and Okudah (torn Achilles) are expected back this season.
Joel Heath tore ligaments in his knee in the spring and also is on IR.
Defensive lineman Jashon Cornell, a possible replacement for Strong, is eligible to rejoin the team once he’s done serving his three-game suspension Monday.