Look for More Theo Riddick in the Red Zone in 2017 for the Lions

USA Today Sports

Lions running back Theo Riddick will be even more involved in the team’s redzone offense in 2017 according to Tim Twentyman of detroitlions.com.

Veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin, now a free agent, was third in the NFL with 22 red-zone targets last season, so there is a massive piece of the pie to be accounted for in Detroit.

While tight end Eric Ebron figures to see an uptick in scoring-area looks, Riddick also stands to gain quite a bit after catching all five of his touchdowns in the red zone last year.

The Detroit running game is currently in flux after struggling in 2016, largely due to injuries to Riddick and second-year back Ameer Abdullah, but Riddick should be one of offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter’s favorite redzone targets.

Lions Fans Can Buy a ‘Lions 2016 NFC North Champions’ Shirt – Despite Them Not Winning the Division

(Photo: Dave Birkett)

Lions fans were savoring the chance to by NFC North Champion shirts last season – the problem was the team lost their final game of the season to the Packers, stopping them from that opportunity.

Until now.

For some odd reason, Lions fans can now grab a shirt that should have never existed – a “Lions NFC North Champs” shirt – being sold at T.J. Maxx in Chesterfield Township.

A T.J. Maxx spokesperson said by email the shirts, which were on sale for $4.99, found their way onto store shelves by mistake and the store will refund money to any customers who may have purchased the item.

About a half dozen of the T-shirts were available at the Chesterfield Township location over the weekend, on a wall with apparel for other local sports teams. Three other T.J. Maxx stores did not have the shirt in stock.

“As you know, it is a fairly common practice that vendors print team sports t-shirts in advance of an important game anticipating a winning outcome,” Doreen Thompson, vice president of global communication for the TJX Companies, wrote in an e-mail. “In this instance, we believe that one of our vendors may have inadvertently included the Detroit Lions t-shirt in with other goods intended for our local area stores. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and invite our TJ Maxx customers to contact customer service should they wish to return this item by calling 1-800-926-2699.”

While the shirt is false in what it states, it’s still a very interesting keepsake for Lions fans, or who knows, maybe someday it will be a collectors item?!

Reports Say the Lions Working on a Huge Deal with QB Matthew Stafford

The Lions are talking about a deal for one of their star players – a VERY big deal.

Reports from NFL.com state that the Lions are looking at making their star QB, Matthew Stafford, the highest paid quarterback in the game, as the team and player try to hammer out a new deal.

Here’s some of the NFL.com article:

Lions president Rod Wood recently suggested he’s comfortable making Matthew Stafford the highest-paid player in the NFL if that’s what it takes to find common ground on a new contract.

Set to enter the final season of a three-year, $53 million extension, Stafford might just have a new deal by the time Detroit’s training camp opens July 31.

Appearing on Tuesday’s edition of NFL Total Access, NFL Network’s Stacey Dales reported there is “internal optimism” at team headquarters that a new agreement will be reached in the next two weeks.

Reports say that Stafford is looking to make the type of money that the Raiders gave Derek Carr, their star QB who was recently given a five-year deal worth $125 million.

Report: Former Lions WR Calvin Johnson Gave Back $1 Million from Signing Bonus

Calvin Johnson paid back the Lions a lot more than originally thought from his signing bonus and wrote the team a check for at least $1 million, Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press reports.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the franchise’s greatest receiver made a payment to the Lions for at least seven figures when he retired in March 2016.

That’s significantly more than the $320,000 NFL Players Association records showed Johnson paid, or about 1/10th of the $3.2-million signing bonus proration the Lions would have been entitled to under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

The Lions required Johnson to pay back part of the $16-million signing bonus he earned on the contract he signed in spring 2012.

Lions spokesman Bill Keenist said today the team had no comment on how much money Johnson has paid back.

Johnson was unavailable for comment

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Lions Coach Jim Caldwell Says Organization Concerned About Comments From WR Calvin Johnson

When one of the great players in the history of your team comes out and says some not so nice things about the team that made him famous, you have to take note.

That’s exactly what took place when former Lions wide out Calvin Johnson made some comments about the team he played for, stating recently that he “didn’t feel like I was treated the way I should have been treated on the way out that.”

The comments didn’t sit well with Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who today said entire organization, from owner Martha Ford on down, is concerned about Johnson’s words.

“I think all of us within the organization, top to bottom, Mrs. Ford down through Bob (Quinn) and the Ford children, everybody, we’re all concerned about any time we hear one of our alumni aren’t happy, particularly with how we feel about our alumni around here,” Caldwell said in his first news conference of organized team activities (OTAs).

Caldwell and Johnson are long time pals, and said that he’s hopeful the two can chat soon and work out their differences of opinion about what Johnson thinks about the way he was treated.

“Playing in the National Football League for a team is like a family,” Caldwell said. “And families sometimes have disagreements. They look at things a little differently. I have grown children and sometimes we look at things a little differently. And we hash them out and we talk about them in dialogue, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love them. But we get the differences worked out and I think the same thing will happen in this situation.

“Maybe it’s a disagreement and a little different viewpoint but the most important thing I think is perhaps this whole will bring about a little more dialogue. Now, how long that will take, I’m not certain. I’m not putting any parameters on it. But I think there will probably be a little discussion, which I think will be a good thing.”

Senior Personnel Executive Brian Xanders Leaves the Lions

Senior personnel executive Brian Xanders has left the Lions, Nate Atkins of Mlive reports.

Xanders spent the past four years with the Lions, handling duties such as college scouting, pro personnel, advance scouting, coaching research/analytics and football information systems development, according to the team website. He came to the Lions in 2013 after a four-year stint as the Denver Broncos general manager.

Lions to Host Former Minnesota Vikings RB Matt Asiata

The Lions are set to host former Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata, Nate Atkins of Mlive reports.

Asiata will take part in the team’s rookie minicamp this week, something veterans have an option of doing, ESPN’s Field Yates reported Tuesday on Twitter.

Asiata, who turns 30 in July, was mostly a goal-line specialist as part of the depth package behind Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. He scored six touchdowns on just 121 carries in six starts last season.

Lions Pickup Fifth-Year Option on Tight End Eric Ebron

The Lions have picked up the option for tight end Eric Ebron, not a surprise considering he’s one of Matthew Stafford’s favorite targets.

Last season for the playoff bound Lions Ebron had 61 catches for 711 yards and one score, and in his career he’s pulled in 133 catches for 1496 and seven touchdowns.