Morning Headlines: Levy Remains in the Middle

Despite the addition of Stephen Tulloch, DeAndre Levy has retained the MLB position -- for now. Also: Mike and Mike predict a playoff run, Derrick Williams has his work cut out for him, and more morning headlines ...

  • On ESPN's morning drive Mike and Mike in the Morning show, both host Mike Greenberg and substitute partner Skip Bayless projected that the Lions would be a wildcard playoff team if quarterback Matthew Stafford can remain healthy for all 16 games.
  • After signing his one-year tender on Thursday, Lions defensive end Cliff Avril was admittedly frustrated by his inability to land a long-term deal. Around the same time Avril joined camp, he welcomed a newborn son, Xavier, into his world. Avril and his agent will continue to work on a long-term deal with the Lions similar to the five-year, $60 million signed by Chiefs' DE Tomba Hali. Hali posted just one more sack than Avril totaled (8.5) last season. Avril went out of his way a few times to explain his willingness to stick around.
    • "I definitely want to build and be a part of changing the culture around here," he said. "I was on the 0-16 team and I definitely want to be on a championship team here."
  • According to mlive's Tom Kowalski, former third-round pick Derrick Williams will have his work cut out for him if he hopes to make the team's roster. Kowalski claims the Lions will either keep a sixth receiver or a fifth running back but not both before a 53-man roster is announced. Said Kowalski:
    • While he's had a very strong camp in catching the ball and proving himself as a receiver, he needs more value so he has to step it up in all special teams. Even that, though, might not be enough.
  • It probably was a bit too dramatic, but that didn't stop coach Jim Schwartz from admitting he'd prefer a horn once each of Detroit's 26 signed free agents -- previously unable to practice with the team -- stormed the practice field late Thursday in what the Detroit News deemed a "bizarre" scene. The players were withheld from joining until the new CBA was officially ratified between the league and union, which came about 50 minutes later than expected.
    • "I've never been in the army but when the cavalry comes you feel good," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "If we could have had a horn blowing and a guy on a horse, that would have been great. But we needed it. It added something to our lines, just stretching."
  • Stephen Tulloch, expected to start at middle linebacker for the Lions, instead played outside on Thursday. DeAndre Levy was placed in the middle, while Justin Durant manned the other outside position. The linebacking core will likely undergo a few instances of musical chairs before Schwartz is settled. Tulloch, a Pro Bowler at the middle spot, will likely land at his default spot, but not before Schwartz is confident that the players are comfortable with each of the positions.
    • "We're going to do both (positions)," Schwartz said. "You guys always jump the gun and you see one day and think that's what it's going to be. It's just going to go through training camp and it's the same thing what I said yesterday or the day before -- nothing's changed there."
  • Rookie Nick Fairley might be off the field, but that doesn't mean he's out of the classroom. And that's the silver lining that coach Jim Schwartz has found in the foot injury suffered to his defensive tackle.
    • "Look at it this way," Schwartz said. "He missed all of the OTAs and all of the off-season work and things like that, and now he's got a chance to make all that stuff back up. He can get all the classroom; he can get a good base; he can lift. He can do all those things. He broke a bone in his foot, and he'll be back as soon as he's healed up."

      Fairy is expected to miss 4-8 weeks.
  • The Lions announced the release of CB Branden Bufford, G Pat Illig, WR Michael Moore and CB Brandon Stephens. They claimed WR Nate Hughes (Jacksonville) and G Greg Niland (Arizona) offwaivers.
  • Besides Fairley, rookie Titus Young missed practice (his fifth straight), along with safety Louis Delmas, left tackle Jeff Backus and cornerback Alphonso Smith.

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