The Detroit Lions are coming off their first victory of the 2021 season, but a wave of illness and injury has rocked that list.
On Thursday, 21 of the Lions’ 53 players were excluded from training in an attempt to slow the spread of the flu. This includes five players who were sidelined due to injury, and to make matters worse the team announced they are placing a defensive back. Bobby Price on Reserve List / COVID-19.
If Price is not vaccinated, he will miss, at a minimum, the next 10 days. But if he’s vaccinated, he’ll need two consecutive negative COVID-19 results separated by a 24-hour period. By appearing on the roster at the end of the week, Price is likely to miss this week’s game, if not the next.
If Price is unable to play, Ifetu Melifonwu will likely assume his starting shooter duties, as he did last week when Price missed the game against the Vikings with a shoulder injury, which is also apparently still an issue, as he was on the injury report earlier in the week with her.
Price isn’t the only Lions player on the reserve / COVID-19 roster right now, as center Evan Brown was placed there on Monday. Neither spot has been filled yet, which means the Lions are currently operating with just 51 players on their active roster.
Price joined the Lions in 2020 as an undrafted safety and spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad. He was promoted at the end of this season due to his positive contributions to special teams, which put him ahead of other defensive backs heading into 2021.
With a new coaching staff in Detroit, Price’s athleticism continued to shine as a gunner, but he struggled for safety. Towards the end of training camp, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant made the decision to convert Price from safety to the corner and the move yielded immediate benefits.
Price looked very natural in the outside corner, even from Weeks 3 and 4 after starter Jeff Okudah and substitute starter Melifonwu landed on the injured reserve. Eventually, Price would lose his starting role in defense – giving way to Jerry Jacobs, who thrives as a starting – but he showed enough promise of development to be optimistic about his future in the NFL.
As Price develops as a defender, there is no doubt about his abilities in special teams, where he has secured a starting role in every phase. He’s made several key special team games this year – tackles and punters shot down – but he will be remembered most of all this season for his 4th 17-yard reception on a mock punt conversion in Los Angeles: