(ALLEN PARK) - Much of the brouhaha surrounding the injury to Lions quarterback Joey Harrington can be traced to the remarks made by tight end Mikhael Ricks on AM1270 this week. Ricks told the talk radio station that quarterback Joey Harrington didn't throw at practice Monday because of a sore shoulder.
The media ran with the story and cornered Harrington about reports of a shoulder injury. In his typical "What-me-worry?" fashion, Harrington brushed off reports that he had anything other than the typical bumps and bruises sustained by every player in the NFL.
"I didn't do anything to [my shoulder]," Harrington said. "It's bumps and bruises, it's the game of football. There's nothing. No story."
So what's the truth?
There's reason to believe the quarterback got it right and not the tight end.
First, watching the tape of the Denver game, Harrington appears to wince in pain after each throw but more so after the second quarter. Harrington had scrambled out of the pocket and been knocked down hard. Could he have dinged his shoulder then?
Absolutely. Was the shoulder keeping him from making throws? No.
If Harrington's shoulder was the problem, the likely result would have been under thrown balls or balls thrown in the dirt. Instead, the ball appeared to "sail" on Harrington several times. The implication is that his sprained right ring finger is causing the second year quarterback to lose the appropriate grip on the ball, causing it to go high.
The problem for the Lions organization is because Harrington is not listed at all on the injury report filed to the league on Wednesday. If Harrington actually did suffer some sort of shoulder injury that would jeopardize his ability to go on Sunday, the team could be fined by the league for failing to disclose the extent of his injury.
Denver coach Mike Shanahan narrowly escaped being fined after lying about the status of Jake Plummer, who suffered a shoulder injury during a game earlier this season. Shanahan claimed Plummer had suffered a mild concussion, but recanted after the game was over, admitting Plummer had a shoulder injury. He said he didn't want his opponent to gain an advantage if Plummer was forced to re-enter the game and the opponent knew he couldn't throw the football.
NFL rules are much stricter regarding filing the proper notification with the league prior to a game than they are on reporting injuries sustained during a game.
Former Lions corner Terry Fair worked out with the team on Wednesday although there is no word on whether the team is considering signing him at this point. Fair was once Detroit's return man and corner and played his first four years in the league prior to being released in the last cut by Marty Mornhinweg in 2002.
Fair was signed by the Carolina Panthers and subsequently suffered a season ending knee injury. His best season was 2000 when he recorded 57 tackles, two interceptions and 10 passes deflected. If signed he likely would take return duties away from Az-Zahir Hakim and David Kircus would return to the practice squad. Kircus has been less than impressive when he was tried out in the return game and admitted in training camp that he doesn't like return duty.