Coming back from bye week, Detroit Lions lose All-Pro returner Jamal Agnew
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions returned from their open date with a significant injury announcement.
Jamal Agnew, who earned All-Pro honors last season as a rookie punt returner, was put on injured reserve with a knee problem. The Lions announced the move Monday, although coach Matt Patricia doesn’t seem to be ruling out the possibility of Agnew returning this season.
“We’ll just go through the process with it,” Patricia said. “That’s the good thing about that kind of designation is we have options. If we get to that point where we can expedite him or use him, then we’ll try to do that.”
What’s clear for now is that the Lions will be without Agnew for awhile, and their season could hinge on what happens in these next few games. Detroit (2-3) recovered from a terrible start to the season with victories over Tom Brady and New England and Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay.
But those two wins came at home. Now the Lions play three of their next four games on the road — and their next seven are against teams currently at .500 or better.
Detroit plays at Miami this weekend.
“I’ve always had battles with this team,” said Patricia, a former New England assistant said of the Dolphins. “They definitely play tough, they play real tough at home. This is a grueling team to play at home. Obviously, they do a great job down there. They use the crowd noise to their advantage.”
Agnew returned two punts for touchdowns last season. He’s averaged only 5.6 yards per punt return this year but has returned six kickoffs for an average of 27.8 yards.
Agnew also plays cornerback and has even contributed a bit on offense for the Lions.
“He’s obviously a very valuable player to our team. Really can do a great job of turning field position, does a great job when he’s out there at gunner, plays defense,” Patricia said. “So, a pretty multiple, versatile player for us. But that’s the nature of the game.”