After battling back from a lower leg injury, cornerback Terry Fair didn't exactly receive the treatment he expected from the Detroit Lions coaching staff. They cut him.
The former first round draft pick out of Tennessee was a surprise release Sunday afternoon, as Detroit rounded its roster down to the mandatory -- and final -- 53 players.
"We picked the best 53 men for this squad," head coach Marty Mornhinweg said afterwards. "In some cases, it was not a matter of athletic ability, but a matter of getting men with the right character for this organization."
Another surprise release was running back James Mungro. Mungro, a former standout at Syracuse, averaged almost five yards per carry during the preseason, but was eventually beat out by team speedster Aveion Cason and veteran Lamont Warren for the back up running back duties.
The Lions hope Mungro will clear waivers so they can sign him to the practice squad.
Kris Ryan, another running back, was also released, along with defensive backs Crance Clemons, Chidi Iwuoma, and Abdual Howard. Wide receivers Labrone Mitchell, and Kevin McKenzie, defensive tackle Mike Collins and offensive guard Josh Lovelady were cut as well. Lovelady is another strong candidate for the practice squad.
Two former in-state players also were released: Josh Thornhill from Michigan State, and Ken Philpott out of Eastern Michigan. The two free-agent rookie linebackers were ultimately dismissed after the team picked up veteran linebacker Donte Curry off of waivers from Washington. Thornhill, otherwise, would have likely made the team.
"There are men who got cut today that might very well be on this roster later in the season, and we will be looking at what other teams do," Mornhinweg said. "We are always open to any move that will help our team."
Or more will be removed from the current roster.
Because several other teams faced the same deadline, making critical and surprising moves as well, the Lions will scan the waiver wire in effort to bulk up. The ball club is looking at the linebacker position, cornerback, and offensive line.