Lions put Levi Onwuzurike on IR, promote two players from practice squad

SideLion Report

The Detroit Lions shuffled their roster some on Saturday, placing Levi Onwuzurike on IR and promoting two players from the practice squad.

Ahead of Sunday’s season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Detroit Lions made some roster moves on Saturday. Defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike (back) was placed on IR, while running back Justin Jackson and linebacker Anthony Pittman have been promoted from the practice squad.

Onwuzurike has been dealing with a lingering back issue basically since the Lions drafted him last year. The most recent flare up came early in camp, and Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell classified his recovery progress as being “at a snail’s pace” a couple weeks ago.

Putting Onwuzurike on IR before the final cutdown to 53 players would have ended his season. But the move to place him on IR seemed inevitable if he was going to miss more than one or two games anyway, and it has now happened.

Lions open up roster spot by putting Levi Onwuzurike on IR

NFL teams are allowed to elevate two players from the practice squad to the active roster each week for games.

Jackson and Pittman are both lined up to contribute on special teams against the Eagles, with informed speculation easily suggesting Jackson will serve as the Lions’ kickoff returner.

Pittman played the most special teams snaps for the Lions last season (378). If he’s active on Sunday, that will be his primary role with the possibility he gets mixed in as an edge rusher on passing downs.

Players can be promoted from the practice squad three times before they have to be signed to the active roster.

As Justin Rogers of The Detroit News noted, with Onwuzurike going on IR the Lions will enter next week with an open spot on the active roster.

A simple and more concrete practice sqad promotion would fill the spot most easily, and Jackson should be first in line. He really should have made the Lions’ initial 53-man roster anyway, and if he isn’t injured on Sunday (assuming he’s active) the move to put him there should come quick.

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