Allen Park — After a one-day reprieve, the Detroit Lions placed a 10th player on the COVID-19 reserve list since last Monday.
Safety Jalen Elliott also became the seventh defensive back to land on the list in the past week, leaving the Lions severely shorthanded in the secondary ahead of Sunday’s matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
Elliott is coming off his first career start, filling in for Tracy Walker, who is also on the COVID-19 list as of last Friday. They’re joined by cornerbacks Ifeatu Melifonwu, Bobby Price, Mark Gilbert, Corey Ballentine and Nickell Robey-Coleman, the latter two who are on the practice squad but played last Sunday in Denver.
On Monday and Tuesday this week, the Lions claimed safety Brady Breeze and cornerback Saivion Smith off waivers. Both could be pressed into action this week with just a week of practice under their belts.
For Elliott, this is his third stint on the COVID-19 reserve list. As an undrafted rookie in 2020, he spent more than two weeks sidelined by the virus after testing positive while reporting for training camp. He ended up on the list again in November last year for five days, implying he was a close contact.
Assuming none of the defensive backs are cleared ahead of Sunday’s game, it’s unclear who the Lions will start in the secondary.
With nickel cornerback AJ Parker returning to practice this week after a three-game absence due to an ankle injury, he could slot back into that spot, allowing Will Harris to return to safety, playing next to veteran Dean Marlowe.
At outside cornerback, Amani Oruwariye remains good to go, while the other spot is up in the air following Jerry Jacobs suffering a season-ending ACL tear last week.
Among the options are practice squader Parnell Motley and Smith, the corner claimed off waivers from San Francisco on Tuesday. Those two have combined to play just 156 regular season defensive snaps.