Detroit Lions add former Michigan football star Devin Funchess

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions have added a familiar face to their tight end room, signing former Michigan football receiver Devin Funchess on Tuesday to fill one of their two vacant roster spots.

Funchess, a second-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2016, last appeared in an NFL game in Week 1 of the 2019 season with the Indianapolis Colts.

He missed the rest of the 2019 season with an injury, then opted out of the 2020 season during COVID-19.

Last year, Funchess, the former Farmington Hills Harrison star, spent time with the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers.

The Lions return T.J. Hockenson at tight end and spent a fifth-round pick on Virginia Tech’s James Mitchell, but have been operating short-handed at tight end all spring.

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Mitchell has not practiced while recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last fall, and undrafted rookie Derrick Deese Jr. is dealing with an undisclosed injury.

The Lions also return Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra at tight end, and signed Garrett Griffin to compete for a blocking role in free agency.

Funchess, 28, was a standout receiver in his three seasons at Michigan who twice earned second-team all-Big Ten honors.

Because of his size (6 feet 4, 225 pounds) and slow 40 time at the NFL combine (about 4.7 seconds), some NFL teams have always considered him a tight end.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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