The Detroit Lions have made a big move to not only save some cap space, but reshape their defense ahead of 2020.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Lions are releasing defensive tackle Damon Harrison from the team. Harrison, 31, was traded to the Lions in 2018 at the trade deadline for a fifth round pick. After just a pair of seasons in Detroit, the run will end for the man they call Snacks up front.
With 45 tackles, 11 sacks and 1 interception in his career, Harrison has been a force in the middle of Detroit’s line. Now that he’s been released, the Lions will have a gaping hole to address up front.
Damon Harrison Pondering Retirement
Harrison, who was acquired in the 2018 season for a fifth round draft pick, might also be pondering retirement this offseason. While he said earlier this offseason that his mind is not made up at this point, Harrison was apparently emotional about the looming decision in the locker room after Week 17’s finale against the Green Bay Packers.
Here’s a look at what Harrison had to say:
It’s a surprise to see Harrison pondering retirement, considering he played well for the Lions in 2018. 2019 was a challenge with health and otherwise for Harrison, but he is still an elite stuffer in the middle of the line at 31 years old. Seemingly, he would still have enough left physically to the naked eye to compete.
Perhaps mentally and emotionally, Harrison might decide he’s finished. In any event, the defensive tackle might simply need some time away to make his decision.
Damon Harrison Explains 2019 Season
Arguably, Harrison changed Detroit’s run defense himself last season, taking a group which was average and turning it into a group which was very stout up front as well as gritty.
This past season, though, things didn’t go as planned Harrison got off to a slow start with the Lions and never really recovered. He and his team have been run over in the early season up front and aren’t stopping the run with consistency at all. As a whole, the group has been very below average and have been pushed around in the trenches so far this season. It’s something plenty are disappointed about, including Harrison.
So what’s been the problem? Harrison seems to think teams are bodying him up as much as they ever have, which isn’t an excuse, but something the lineman must account for.
“I would just say teams are doing a good job of making sure I’m accounted for. That hasn’t stopped me in the past and I don’t see why it should stop me now,” Harrison told the media about his slow start to the 2019 season.
Did they play him any differently? Perhaps not exactly.
“I wouldn’t say differently. They’re just doing a good job of getting me off some things I am struggling with now,” he said a few months back, declining to mention what things those were specifically.
As Harrison battled health struggles down the stretch every single week, he couldn’t help the team’s defense get over the hump in the end.
In the end, he will now be leaving the Lions.