Lions Add Veteran TE David Ausberry

Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins

The Lions made a minor move to bolster the team’s tight end depth heading into mandatory minicamp next week, signing David Ausberry, Justin Rogers of Mlive reports.

A seventh-round draft pick out of USC in 2011, Ausberry spent four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder appeared in 34 games, catching 11 passes for 120 yards. He missed all of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury.

The former wide receiver ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash coming out of college, fast for his position. He was also was a significant contributor on special teams for Oakland.

To clear room on the roster, the Lions released rookie safety Nathan Lindsey, an Inkster native.

Lions Kicker Matt Prater Thinks the NFL Will Do Away with Kickers Someday

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys

The NFL recently adopted a rule change that will move extra-point kicks from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line this season. Lions kicker Matt Prater thinks the NFL also is trying to move something else: Kickers out the door, Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press reports.

“I feel eventually that they’re just going to take kicking out of the game completely,” he said, “which is fine with me as long as I’m done playing.”

The point-after-touchdown rule change still allows a two-point conversion to be attempted from the 2-yard line but also allows the defense to return a turnover for two points. Prater isn’t a fan, but he understands why league owners voted for the new rule.

“They want to make a more exciting play and give the defense an opportunity to score and everything,” he said. “So I see where they’re going with it. But I’m not a huge fan. All kick them and make them.”

“It’s just like anything else, you know?” Prater said. “Guys have success with such a high percentage on the extra points you almost get punished for it for having success. There’s other plays that are almost guaranteed, too, and they’re not messing with that.”

Prater said he will be curious to see how coaches, especially in outdoor stadiums, factor in poor conditions on their PAT choices late in the season.

“I think it’s going to affect teams like Green Bay, Chicago, Pittsburgh,” he said. “It’s cold, windy, the grass is torn up late in the year. I think that’s when the coaches are really going to have to decide if it’s a guaranteed kick instead of going for it from the 2 and getting the two points. I’m interested to see what coaches do as far as whether they’re kicking the extra point or going for the two or whatnot, especially late in the year.”

A Barry Sanders Signed Silverdome Urinal Up for Sale

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Have you ever dreamed about owning a urinal? How about a urinal from the old Pontiac Silverdome signed by Hall of Fame Lions running back Barry Sanders?

The dream can now come true – but be prepared to pay a heavy price.

ESPN writes today that Lions super fan Mike Kozan has the urinal up for auction on EBay, and right now it’s up to $2000!

The 28-year-old fan got the urinal signed after buying it at an auction for Silverdome, in the end he purchased two urinals, two sinks, three showers, two stall partitions, and a toilet all for the whopping price of $23.

“I got the memory, which is the important thing to me,” Kozan said. “I got to meet Barry and do something super-awkward. I got his autograph, and to put it on eBay is making the story even better.”

Here’s more of the story of how Kozan got the urinal signed.

Then he reached the front of the line. Sanders sat there. He was told what was wrapped up on the hand truck. He got up and walked around the table. Kozan said that at the time, he didn’t know Sanders had tweeted out that he would not sign any urinals when the auction was announced in March 2014.

“I was like, ‘Well, Barry, I’ve got your urinal here from the locker room at the Silverdome,'” Kozan said. “He said, ‘Are you for real?’ He looked kind of confused. I felt kind of dumb. I was like, ‘No, I’m for real’ and said, ‘Do you mind signing it?’

“He said, ‘I refuse.’ Barry’s so straight-faced, and I didn’t know if he was joking or not. My girlfriend was with me and said, ‘Can you please sign it?’ in a sweet voice. He kind of laughed and said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ll sign it.'”

Sanders’ agent, JB Bernstein, confirmed Sanders signed the urinal and said it happened because urinals were not on the list of things Sanders had said he wouldn’t sign.

“Barry felt bad turning him away after he had lugged the thing down there and waited in line,” Bernstein wrote in an email to ESPN. “It was really my fault because urinals are not listed in the items that Barry won’t sign. He is so good to his fans that he will pretty much sign anything, but going forward we now state that Barry reserves the right to refuse to sign any item, and that odd items should be cleared in advance through his memorabilia partner, Schwartz Sports.

“In the end, the message here is that Barry values his fans, and that their support is greatly appreciated by him.”

Sanders signed it for Kozan, creating a potential one-of-a-kind item. What started as a joke turned into a collectible. It left Kozan nervous leading up to it and not really believing he asked a player he idolized to sign a latrine as he headed back home, toilet in tow, perspiring more than normal.

“I just wanted to get out of there. My girlfriend was like, ‘Why are you sweating so bad?'” Kozan said. “I just asked my childhood hero to sign a urinal.”

Detroit’s Lions don’t have interest in Ray Rice

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The Lions for sure could use a running back, and while they have Joique Bell in the backfield, they also released Reggie Bush in free agency this offseason. Check how the off-season changes will affect the 2015 Lions’ at Mybookie.ag.

There’s an option out there, but the player that a lot of people seem to be talking about is also a player that no one wants to see to take a chance on – that being former Ravens running back Ray Rice.

At the recent NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix AZ, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said that Ray Rice is not an option to come to the Lions as a possible running back option.

“I don’t foresee that, to be plain and simple,” Caldwell said at the NFL owners meetings. “We certainly do know him and got to know him when we were there, and I think, at some point in time, like I had mentioned before, somebody will probably give him a second chance.”

If you don’t think Caldwell knows all about Rice, think again, as Caldwell spent two seasons with Rice with the Ravens when he was offensive coordinator and Rice was the team’s star running back.

He knows what Rice can do, but at the same time there’s thought of the backlash that will come if the team grabs Rice, who was released last season after video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancee in an elevator. He has not been on a team since then.

“I just don’t see it,” Caldwell said of Rice playing for the Lions. “There has to be a need and a fit in all areas, and at this point in time, he’s not a fit for us.”

The Lions released Bush before the start of free agency and want to add another back to a group that includes Bell, Theo Riddick and George Winn.

Most likely, they’ll do that through the draft, which is deep at running back. The Lions already have hosted potential early round picks Todd Gurley and Tevin Coleman on predraft visits.

There’s plenty of need at the position, but in the NFL in general running backs have been devalued in the last few years with more and more focus on the passing game.

The Lions don’t need the headache that will come along with Rice. He may rehab his character and get another shot in the NFL, but the Lions are smart to stay away – stay far away.

Lions Agree to Two-Year Deal with CB Rashean Mathis

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons

Reports say that the Lions will have their entire starting secondary from last season back in 2015.

The team has re-signed cornerback Rashean Mathis to a two-year deal, a source confirmed to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com on Wednesday, meaning that a group that had helped form one of the top defenses in the NFL will remain intact for at least another year.

Mathis, who will turn 35 in August, had one of the better seasons of his career in 2014, finishing as the No. 12-rated cornerback by Pro Football Focus. He is also a valuable mentor to the team’s other starting cornerback, Darius Slay, and part of a veteran core with safeties James Ihedigbo and Glover Quin.

He had 51 tackles last season as well as his first interception since 2011. He started all 16 games for the Lions opposite Slay.

Lions vs Cowboys Friday Injury Report

DETROIT LIONS
Status Report
OUT G Larry Warford (knee)
DOUBTFUL DT Nick Fairley (knee)
PROBABLE DE Ezekiel Ansah (toe), WR Calvin Johnson (ankle), DE Darryl Tapp (not injury related)
Practice Report
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday DT Nick Fairley (knee), G Larry Warford (knee)
Thursday DE Darryl Tapp (not injury related), G Larry Warford (knee)
Friday G Larry Warford (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday WR Calvin Johnson (ankle)
Thursday DT Nick Fairley (knee)
Friday DE Ezekiel Ansah (toe), DT Nick Fairley (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Thursday WR Calvin Johnson (ankle)
Friday WR Calvin Johnson (ankle), DE Darryl Tapp (not injury related)
DALLAS COWBOYS
Status Report
DOUBTFUL T Doug Free (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE DE Tyrone Crawford (illness), LB Anthony Hitchens (ankle)
PROBABLE LB Bruce Carter (knee), DT Nick Hayden (shoulder), S Jeff Heath (thumb), G Zack Martin (ankle), LB Rolando McClain (knee, illness), RB DeMarco Murray (hand), DT Josh Brent (calf), QB Tony Romo (back), S C.J. Spillman (groin), LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)
Practice Report
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday T Doug Free (ankle), DT Nick Hayden (shoulder), LB Anthony Hitchens (ankle), QB Tony Romo (back), S C.J. Spillman (groin)
Thursday T Doug Free (ankle), DT Nick Hayden (shoulder), LB Anthony Hitchens (ankle), S C.J. Spillman (groin)
Friday DE Tyrone Crawford (illness), T Doug Free (ankle), LB Anthony Hitchens (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday LB Rolando McClain (knee, illness), LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)
Friday DT Nick Hayden (shoulder), S C.J. Spillman (groin)
FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday LB Bruce Carter (knee), S Jeff Heath (thumb), G Zack Martin (ankle), RB DeMarco Murray (hand), DT Josh Brent (calf)
Thursday LB Bruce Carter (knee), S Jeff Heath (thumb), G Zack Martin (ankle), LB Rolando McClain (knee, illness), RB DeMarco Murray (hand), DT Josh Brent (calf), QB Tony Romo (back), LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)
Friday LB Bruce Carter (knee), S Jeff Heath (thumb), G Zack Martin (ankle), LB Rolando McClain (knee, illness), RB DeMarco Murray (hand), DT Josh Brent (calf), QB Tony Romo (back), LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)

Ndamukong Suh suspended for playoff game

Ndamukong Suh has been suspended for this coming Sunday’s playoff game versus the Dallas Cowboys.

The suspension stems from Suh having stepped on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ calf as he laid on the ground. While it is not obvious that Suh did this purposely, his reputation certainly has not done him any favors. The league’s office, however, will have to respond to an appeal of this suspension of Suh.

If the suspension is upheld, this will be a big blow to the Lions’ defensive line as they will face a very formidable Cowboys offensive line. Tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zack Martin, and center Travis Frederick have all earned Pro Bowl berths for their outstanding play this season.

This is the second week in a row in which the Lions will be short a player due to suspension. Just last week, center Dominic Raiola was suspended due to stomping on an opponent. He ultimately missed the matchup against the Packers — a game that would decide the winner of the NFC North.

Lions Rally for 20-14 Late Win Over Bears

Matthew Stafford outplayed new Bears starter Jimmy Clausen, but just barely, as the Lions survived a tough win in Chicago, topping the Bears 20-14.

He completed 22 of 39 passes for 243 yards and hit the 4,000-yard mark for the fourth straight year, but it was hardly an easy afternoon for him.

Ndamukong Suh had two sacks, Calvin Johnson added six catches for 103 yards and now the playoff-bound Lions (11-4) can wrap up the NFC North title with a win next week against Green Bay. Regardless, the Lions will make their second trip to the postseason in four years and third in 16 years after Philadelphia’s loss to Washington on Saturday.

They were hoping to lock up their first division championship since 1993. But with the Packers beating Tampa Bay, the division will be decided in next week’s game at Green Bay.

Stafford threw interceptions in the end zone and near the goal line on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter with the Lions leading 7-0.

Reggie Bush ran for a touchdown and finished with 54 yards rushing and 44 receiving for Detroit. The Lions came away with their highest win total since they went 12-4 in 1991 and handed Chicago (5-10) its fourth straight loss.

Clausen completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards in his first start since his 2010 rookie season with Carolina. He threw touchdowns to Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery and played turnover-free ball until a late interception by Glover Quin.

The Bears were leading 14-10 early in the fourth when Tim Jennings bumped Corey Fuller on a deep third-down pass, resulting in a 46-yard interference penalty.

On the next play Bell dodged two defenders and broke a tackle by Brock Vereen for a 17-yard TD that put Detroit up 17-14. Prater added a 30-yard field goal to make it a six-point game with 2:35 remaining.

Prater gave Detroit a 10-7 lead with a 39-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half. But the Bears answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive. Clausen capped it by lofting a 20-yard pass over Darius Slay to Jeffery in the end zone, giving Chicago its first lead at 14-10 with 2:45 left in the third.

The Bears’ Jeremiah Ratliff blocked a 37-yard field goal by Prater early in the fourth, keeping it a four-point game.

The Lions might have run away with this one if not for Stafford’s interceptions in the second quarter and a muffed punt by Jeremy Ross that led to a touchdown for Chicago near the end of the first half.