Lions Mull Kicking Options

It isn't often you see a 6-1, 295 offensive lineman converted to placekicker, but if Lions' center Dominic Raiola has his way, that could very well happen.

With veteran kicker Jason Hanson hobbled by a slight hamstring pull, the Lions are in need of a leg that can put the ball down the field -- on both kick-offs and field goals. Punter Nick Harris was adequate in replacement of Hanson, handling a few kicks during Sunday's 17-3 season opening win, but the Lions would like to see the ball go beyond the opponent's 20-yard line.

Raiola feels as though he's capable, and he's let the coaching staff know it.

"I know, we talked about him (Dominic Raiola) today," said head coach Steve Mariucci. "He wants to kick long field goals and everything. He will be part of the equation. We will see. We have Nick Harris, who did a heck of a job. Special teams player of the week not just for kicking off and replacing Jason, but for punting and the whole thing.

"We will bring in some guys and we will be ready to sign somebody if we feel we need to or we can just use Jason sparingly if he is capable towards the end of the week.

Mariucci refused to give any names, but did indicate the team might bring in veteran assistance.

"You would prefer to have a veteran guy who has been there and done that versus a rookie but we are just going to evaluate who is there and who is available and what we think is best," he said. "And determine 'do we need a long kick off type guy, or a real accurate short field goal guy.' We will have to determine that as we go."

The problem the Lions run into with signing a free-agent kicker is that they would have to release a player from the team's 53-man roster. Mariucci would prefer to keep the entire roster intact, making the possible use of Raiola -- who claims to have a strong, accurate leg -- prevalent.

"You would have to cut somebody," said Mariucci. "If you added a new kicker, you would have to waive somebody and then hang onto the kicker as long as you needed to and go from there. We haven't made those decisions yet.

"We will just see how Jason heals up between today and tomorrow and the next day."

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