The Detroit Lions‘ magical season continued as they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their Divisional Round matchup, 31-23. That has earned them a trip to the NFC Championship Game, for the first time since the 1991 season, and a matchup against the No. 1 seed San Francisco 49ers.
However, the team will have at least one new face on the offensive side of the ball this offseason. Veteran tight end Zach Ertz was signed to the practice squad and is expected to be elevated before the game.
Ertz was released by the Arizona Cardinals in November, as the news was broken by his former teammate, J.J. Watt. He was seeking a chance to compete for another Super Bowl ring and will have the chance to do just that with the Lions.
His signing was necessitated after Brock Wright sustained a forearm injury against the Buccaneers. Head coach Dan Campbell did not sound confident Wright would be able to play against the 49ers.
NFL NEWS & RUMORS: Zach Ertz, Brock Wright, Jonah Jackson, Detroit Lions Updates
Wright’s injury left star rookie Sam LaPorta, who is dealing with a knee injury of his own, as the only healthy active tight end on Sunday. That means Ertz could have a role in the offensive game plan right away as Detroit doesn’t shy away from two tight-end sets.
With championship experience under his belt, Ertz is the perfect late-season addition for the Lions. He saw his role decrease with the Cardinals as the season wore on, as they opted to give more reps to youngster Trey McBride. With a limited role offensively and the Cardinals rebuilding, he sought his release and it was granted.
Unfortunately, Wright wasn’t the only player Campbell and his staff will be replacing against the 49ers. Starting guard Jonah Jackson will also miss the game after undergoing surgery for a slight meniscus tear, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. However, should the team advance to the Super Bowl, there is a chance Jackson could be back in the lineup for that game.
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