Allen Park — The Detroit Lions have seen the number of minor injuries across the roster swell the past week, but the team got some good news ahead of Monday’s practice, announcing linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin has been activated off the COVID-19/reserve list.
A top special teams standout in recent years, the Lions re-signed Reeves-Maybin this offseason with the expectation of giving him an opportunity to reclaim a role in the defensive rotation after seeing a career-low 38 snaps with the unit a year ago.
A fourth-round draft pick out of Tennessee in 2017, Reeves-Maybin has spent his entire career with the Lions.
“We were excited to get him back because we know what he can do from a level on special teams for us,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said earlier this offseason. “He plays hard, he’s smart. You can watch him on tape. I mean, we went back and watched him in 2019 when he played at linebacker quite a bit. So he comes in, there’s no telling. You never know what you have in this player. We haven’t told anybody anything other than an opportunity, so he comes in here and we’ll give him a chance to compete.”
Campbell has said he’s happy with the competition at inside linebacker through training camp, with reserves Shaun Dion Hamilton and Anthony Pittman flashing some potential behind projected starters Jamie Collins and Alex Anzalone.
Former second-round pick Jahlani Tavai, who dropped nearly 20 pounds this offseason to better fit the new scheme, is also in the mix, while rookie Derrick Barnes, a fourth-round draft pick expected to compete for a role this season, has been limited all training camp by a hamstring injury.
In addition to Reeves-Maybin’s activation, the Lions signed wide receiver Darius Jennings to address the team’s suddenly depleted corps. During Saturday’s practice at Ford Field, the Lions were down Tyrell Williams (groin), Breshad Perriman (hip), Quintez Cephus (head) and Damion Ratley.
Detroit is Jennings’ sixth NFL stop after going undrafted out of Virginia in 2015. The 5-foot-10, 182-pounder was with the Chargers last offseason after spending the previous three years with the Tennessee Titans.
Jennings has appeared in 28 games during his career, catching 27 passes for 235 yards. Arguably the bigger selling point is his ability to contribute as a return man. In 2018, he topped the NFL with a 31.7-yard average on kickoffs, including a 94-yard touchdown.
To create room for Jennings on the roster, the Lions waived offensive lineman Drake Jackson.