Key Lions Rookie Defender Returns to Practice off Long-Term Injury

Ifeatu Melifonwu

Getty Ifeatu Melifonwu celebrates a big play for the Lions defense in the 2021 preseason.

The Detroit Lions are starting to get a bit healthier at a key time of the season on the defensive side of the ball, and welcomed back one of their key players to start a new week.

Rookie cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu came back to the Lions on Monday, November 29th off injury. Melifonwu had been hurt since Week 2 when he injured his thigh against the Green Bay Packers. From there, Melifonwu had to rehab and had taken his time getting back into the mix for the Lions.

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Here’s a look at the Lions revealing the news on Monday afternoon:

Melifonwu’s return is a good one for the Lions considering their draft class has been impressive thus far this season. Melifonwu has been the missing link thanks to injury, but now he has a chance to come back and do some good things on the field for the team.

Dan Campbell Explains How Melifonwu Will Get Used Upon Return

With Melifonwu back, there could be some question as to how the Lions plan on using the cornerback. The team has managed to find some quality depth without Melifonwu in recent weeks, and the challenge for the team’s staff now will be how to juggle all the players and their roles.

Detroit coach Dan Campbell spoke with the media on Monday, November 29 and revealed that Melifonwu’s re-emergence may not change things too much in the secondary early on.

VideoVideo related to key lions rookie defender returns to practice off long-term injury2021-11-29T15:56:24-05:00

“We’ve got (Melifonwu) available and we’ll work him in a little bit. Right now, it’s more about getting (Melifonwu) back. He’s kind of been in practice, but now that he’s been elevated, let’s see where he’s at. But I don’t necessarily foresee us making any chances secondary wise as far as the starting unit,” Campbell said.

Getting Melifonwu healthy and back to game speed seems to be the biggest goal for the team right now, which is sensible all things considered.

Melifonwu Stats & Highlights

If the last name sounds familiar to fans, that’s because Ifeatu’s brother Obi Melifonwu played in the NFL recently as well. The older Melifonwu didn’t have nearly as much success, but that doesn’t mean the younger one can’t be great. Melifonwu has solid size at 6-3 and is the type of player who can be a better cornerback than some of the options that may go higher than him in the NFL Draft. In college, he put up 88 tackles, 3 interceptions, 19 passes defended and 1 sack. Melifowu might end up being one of the better cornerbacks that comes out of this draft process, and the Lions hope they will look smart to have nabbed him given their major needs at cornerback.

Here’s a look at some of Melifonwu’s best highlights in college:

Ifeatu Melifonwu 2020 Regular Season Highlights | Syracuse DBIfeatu Melifonwu proved that he had what it takes to compete at cornerback in the ACC in 2020. Melifonwu finished the campaign tied for 6th in the league in passes defended with 10 and 5th in the ACC with 9 breakups. The junior cornerback averaged 5 tackles per game to rank third in the conference among corners.…2021-02-24T02:39:50Z

The clips do show a player who has plenty of ability and could even play a starring role in the future for the Lions if he is able to put this training to good use on the field. Now that he is healthy, the hope is that the development can continue.

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