The Detroit Lions had to find a way to get rookie James Houston on the active roster, but an IR placement for Charles Harris is not the ideal way they’d have done it.
Opportunity finally knocked for Detroit Lions rookie edge rusher James Houston on Thanksgiving Day against the Buffalo Bills. He answered loudly, to say the least, with two sacks of Bills quarterback Josh Allen on just five defensive snaps.
Houston, a sixth-round pick out of Jackson State in April, was on the practice squad up until his elevation for the game against the Bills on a short week. Letting him get back to the practice squad allows another team to poach him and sign him to their active roster, so the Lions had to find a way to make a spot for Houston on their 53-man roster.
On Monday, the Lions announced veteran defensive end Charles Harris has been placed on IR and Houston has been signed to the active roster.
Charles Harris’ absence opens up bigger opportunity for James Houston
Harris was a free agent find for the Lions in 2021, as he came in and led the team with 7.5 sacks last year. He signed a two-year deal to stay in Detroit last offseason, but this season has not gone nearly as well with 14 tackles and one sack in the six games he has played. A groin injury has sidelined him for five of the last seven games, and now he’ll miss at least four more by going on IR.
Harris’ earliest return would be Week 17, Jan. 1, against the Chicago Bears. There’s a chance he’s just done for the season.
Houston had 16.5 sacks in his lone season at Jackson State, after transferring from Florida to play for Deion Sanders. Any question about that pure pass rushing ability making the jump from FCS to the NFL was answered against the Bills.
Houston was the “next man up” when Harris and fellow rookie Josh Paschal were out against Buffalo. Now, a player head coach Dan Campbell had said he wanted to see more of is in line to get an extended look over at least the next four games while Harris is on IR.