The Detroit Lions are getting some much-needed reinforcements at the tight end position with the return of Eric Ebron.
Michael Rothstein for ESPN.com reports Ebron was on the practice field for the first time since August 6. That’s the good news. In even better news, Rothstein’s colleague Adam Caplan hears from a source that the Lions believe the third-year tight end will be ready for their regular season opener, and even has a chance to play in the preseason finale.
Ebron looked like he might be in doubt for the entire season or at least a good portion of it when he had to be carted off from a mock game at Ford Field. The initial concern was an Achilles injury, but it turned out to be a less serious ankle injury.
The 10th overall draft pick in 2010, Ebron hasn’t quite lived up the hype just yet, but he would still be sorely missed if unavailable. First and foremost, Brandon Pettigrew still hasn’t been activated from the physically unable to perform list with his own injury, leaving Detroit perilously thin at tight end.
Not only that, the Lions will need all the help they can get since All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson decided to retire during the offseason. Ebron’s 47 catches for 537 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games, including eight starts, in 2015 aren’t bad numbers, and his targets should only increase with Johnson out of the picture.
Theoretically, Ebron should still be on the upswing, too. He’s only 23, and at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds with 4.6 speed, the North Carolina product has the ceiling to become a potential matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. The Lions can only hope. But for now, they’ll take just having him back in the lineup in time for Week 1.