Allen Park — The Detroit Lions got down to the required 85-man roster limit on Tuesday afternoon, placing linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton on injured reserve and waiving defensive tackle Michael Barnett and wide receiver Chad Hansen.
Hansen, who has been sidelined the past week, received an injury settlement from the team.
It’s a tough break for Hamilton, a January waiver claim who had been talked about by coach Dan Campbell as early as March. A three-year veteran with 46 games of experience, Hamilton had been making a strong run at a roster spot prior to suffering an injury.
“I love Shaun Dion,” inside linebacker coach Mark DeLeone said this week. “I think, first of all, you’re talking about a guy who’s a real professional, knows how to play, has played at a high level in college, in the pros. The game’s not too big for him. He just comes out and always makes plays, whether it’s in practice. We get in the game and they’re running a zone over there to our left, and he strikes, sheds, gets off, and makes a tackle. I’m excited about him. This is a guy I like a lot.”
Hamilton’s injury could be good news for Jahlani Tavai, the former second-round pick who is perceived to be on the roster bubble.
“I think he’s in a really good position right now,” DeLeone said. “I think he’s had a really good camp. … I think Jahlani is in a good place, he’s got to keep stacking days. I’m excited to watch him play on Saturday night.”
It’s also opens a door for Anthony Pittman, the Wayne State product who transitioned back to inside linebacker this year. He has impressed the coaching staff with his playmaking ability on the practice field this camp.
“I’m excited about the guys who we have (at inside linebacker),” defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said earlier in training camp. “A guy that really stands out is Pittman. He’s making plays on the ball, he’s running to the ball. You see the physical nature of him. There’s a lot of things about that player that I like.”