Allen Park — The Detroit Lions have lost one of the team’s most productive defensive players from a year ago for at least the next four games, making room for the team to sign rookie James Houston off the practice squad.
On Monday, the team announced Charles Harris has been placed on injured reserve. He had been dealing with a nagging groin injury for the better part of two months.
Initially suffering the injury during a Thursday practice leading up to the team’s Week 5 matchup against New England, Harris subsequently missed the next three games. He returned to action against Green Bay earlier this month, playing a combined 24 defensive reps between that contest and the following week against Chicago before re-aggravating the groin strain.
Even before the injury, Harris was struggling to replicate his breakout performance from a year earlier, when he paced the Lions with 7.5 sacks and 52 quarterback pressures. That production netted him a two-year, $13 million contract in the offseason, which included $7 million in guarantees, but in six appearances this season, he’s tallied a single sack and 11 QB pressures.
Houston, meanwhile, recorded a pair of sacks in his debut last Thursday. Playing just five defensive snaps, he managed to drop Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen behind the line twice on third downs in Detroit’s 28-25 loss.
A sixth-round pick out of Jackson State, the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Houston figures to be in line for additional opportunities through December, particularly if fellow rookie Josh Paschal remains sidelined by a knee injury.