Detroit Lions lose top pass rusher Romeo Okwara to potential torn Achilles tendon

Detroit Free Press

CHICAGO — The Detroit Lions might have lost their second defensive starter this season to a torn Achilles tendon.

Outside linebacker Romeo Okwara left Sunday’s 24-14 loss to the Chicago Bears with an Achilles injury that appears serious.

“Rome’s it isn’t good,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “It doesn’t look good at all.”

Okwara will undergo further testing Monday. He was injured late in the first quarter, on Justin Fields’ 64-yard pass to Darnell Mooney, and had trouble putting weight on his left leg as he limped to the sideline at Soldier Field.

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The Lions lost top cornerback Jeff Okudah to a ruptured Achilles in their Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, and have been without their other starting outside linebacker, Trey Flowers, because of knee and shoulder injuries the past two weeks.

Okwara signed a three-year, $39 million contract in March after leading the Lions with 10 sacks last season. He was the team’s most consistent pass rusher, though he had just one sack in the season’s first three games.

Austin Bryant and Charles Harris played most of the outside linebacker/defensive end snaps Sunday. Julian Okwara, Romeo’s brother, also could see an expanded role going forward.

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Center Frank Ragnow also left Sunday’s game in the first quarter with a toe injury that Campbell said likely will cause him to miss time.

“It’s better than Rome’s, but he may be out a little bit, too,” Campbell said.

Evan Brown finished Sunday’s game at center in Ragnow’s absence.

The Lions, one of two winless teams left in the NFL, have not had their projected starting offensive line together for a single snap this season. Left tackle Taylor Decker could return from hand surgery for next week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Decker suffered his injury in practice four days before the Lions’ first game.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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