Detroit Lions sign running back Craig Reynolds to 53-man roster

Detroit Free Press

After a couple of week-to-week sessions of “Netflix,” the Detroit Lions are subscribing full-time.

“Netflix” is the nickname for running back Craig Reynolds, who has been the Lions’ lead back the past two weeks as injuries and COVID-19 have whittled down the team’s running back room.

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The Lions signed Reynolds to the 53-man roster on Monday, according to a source with knowledge of the contract. The move comes a day after Reynolds rushed 26 times for 112 yards in the Lions’ 30-12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field.

That followed a season debut in which Reynolds rushed 11 times for 83 yards against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 5. The running back joined the Lions just ahead of the team’s preseason opener , flying in and suiting up less than 48 hours later.

“We call him Netflix,” Lions running backs coach Duce Staley said in August. “That’s what he was doing, right? On the couch watching Netflix, and all of a sudden he came in, got a couple yards and scored a touchdown. We call him Netflix. We all watch Netflix, right? Well, he’s Netflix.”

Reynolds got his regular-season chance after a shoulder injury kept lead back D’Andre Swift out for multiple weeks and backup Jamaal Williams tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the reserve/COVID list. That left the Lions down to Godwin Igwebuike, a converted safety, and Jermar Jefferson, a seventh-round pick in 2021 out of Oregon State.

Enter Reynolds.

Reynolds had six carries for 49 yards and scored on a 24-yard touchdown run in the Lions’ preseason-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills, then had a team-high 29 yards rushing and another touchdown in a following loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I introduced myself in the huddle at one point,” Reynolds said after his Lions preseason debut. “They were like, ‘Yo, what’s your name?’ A couple coaches introduced themselves to me on the sideline during the game. It’s definitely crazy, but like I said, they just made it real easy.”

He finished the Lions’ preseason with four carries for nine yards in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts, then signed with the team’s practice squad.

Reynolds’ run with the Lions follows stints on the practice squad with the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Football Team. Undrafted out of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, he had one carry for 4 yards with the Jaguars in 2020.

“Craig’s done a good job,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said Sunday. “Craig, since Day 1, he’s come in and just done his job. It’s all about intensity. It’s all about focus and he’s just done a great job on scout team and just waited for his opportunity and he’s gotten two now back-to-back and showed up.”

Free Press columnist Shawn Windsor contributed to this report.

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