Detroit Lions’ Quintez Cephus returns to practice; Amon-Ra St. Brown ninth in Pro Bowl vote

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions are close to getting another weapon back in their passing game.

Wide receiver Quintez Cephus returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since injuring his foot in an October loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

After battling injuries at receiver most of the season, the Lions are the healthiest they’ve been at the position since training camp. DJ Chark (ankle), Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle, concussion) and Josh Reynolds (ankle, back) missed a combined 10 games with injuries, and rookie first-round Jameson Williams made his NFL debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week after opening the year on the nonfootball injury list.

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Cephus had two catches for 15 yards in the Lions first four games.

He will compete for time as the Lions’ fifth receiver if he returns to action this season. The Lions have 21 days to activate Cephus to their 53-man roster or keep him on injured reserve for the season.

“He looks good,” receivers coach Antwaan Randle El said last week. “He’s been running, he looks good, it’s just, the cutting and running routes is when you’ve got to really put your foot in the ground and come out of it. I’m not sure what that feels like for him yet.”

More on injuries

Right guard Evan Brown returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, but the Lions were without two other starters on their offensive line.

Left tackle Taylor Decker did not practice because of an elbow injury, and center Frank Ragnow sat out to rest his injured foot.

Ragnow has missed practice perdiodically this fall to tend to an injury he suffered in Week 1. He has played in 11 of 12 games this season.

Brown, who took over as the Lions’ starting right guard in Week 7, has missed the past two games with an ankle injury.

The Lions were without eight players in all Wednesday: Jeff Okudah, Kalif Raymond and Nate Sudfeld did not practice because of an illness; guard Kayode Awosika, who started the past two weeks in place of Brown, was out with an ankle injury; linebacker Derrick Barnes did not practice because of a knee injury; and safety DeShon Elliott sat out with an ankle injury.

Running back D’Andre Swift also was limited.

Goff honored

Lions quarterback Jared Goff said Wednesday it was “a huge honor” to be the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee.

The award is given annually to a player who shows outstanding community service and excellence on the field.

Goff has had a presence in Detroit schools since coming to the Lions in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams last spring. He partnered with the non-profit organization Give Merit’s FATE program to have four students design and sell products through his JG16 foundation that provide college scholarships to Detroit students, and he helped build a STEAM lab at Detroit Lions Academy.

“When I came to Detroit I made it a point to be in the community, not because I wanted to be it for the award but I felt like it’s important,” Goff said. “I feel like it’s a part of the quarterback’s job and responsibility is to be a leader not only on the team but in the community and be able to give back when you can. And me personally, it’s youth I love affecting and love being a part of and that’s what we were able to do this year and be a part of their lives and hopefully provide some change for them in some positive ways and be there for them.”

Voting block

St. Brown, who is tied for seventh in the NFL with 76 receptions, moved up one spot to ninth among receivers in fan voting for the Pro Bowl.

Five other Lions rank among the top 10 at their positions in voting: Ragnow ranks fourth among centers, Aidan Hutchinson is fifth among defensive ends, DeShon Elliott is sixth among strong safeties, Kerby Joseph is seventh among free safeties and Penei Sewell is eighth among offensive tackles.

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa leads all players in fan voting, followed by Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Voting runs through Dec. 15. Players are selected for the Pro Bowl based on votes by fans, coaches and players across the league.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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