Lions Bring Back Veteran Fullback Days After Releasing Him

Jason Cabinda

Getty Jason Cabinda on the field for the Lions vs. the Jets in 2022.

Days after his release, veteran fullback Jason Cabinda is back with the Detroit Lions.

The Lions announced on January 2 that they had signed Cabinda to the practice squad after he was released and cleared waivers. Cabinda had just returned from a stint on injured reserve, and his release freed a spot on the active roster for a returning player on defense.

Though he no longer has a spot on the active roster, Cabinda could still see a role in the team’s season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.

Dan Campbell Has Plans for Fullback

The 27-year-old Cabinda is among the longest-tenured players on offense, having joined the Lions in 2019 after spending his rookie year with the then-Oakland Raiders. He has appeared in 45 games over the course of his five seasons in Detroit, including three this season.

Though Cabinda no longer holds a spot on the 53-man roster, Lions head coach Dan Campbell hinted that he would be elevated for the season finale against the division rival.

“(I would) love to get C.J. [Gardner-Johnson] involved, love to get [Alim McNeill] involved, love to get Cabinda involved,” Campbell said, via Pride of Detroit.

Earlier in the week, Cabinda had taken to social media to defend the team after a controversial call in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions were flagged for illegal touching on what would have been a go-ahead 2-point conversion, but it was determined that lineman Taylor Decker did not declare himself eligible.

After commentator Jayson Whitlock criticized the Lions for sending three linemen to the referee in an attempt to conceal Decker’s reporting, Cabinda shot back.

“Gotta be one of the laziest takes I’ve seen,” Cabinda wrote on X. “Anyone who really knows football and knows about plays like this knows that sending only one OL to the referee for a 2 pt conversion where the defense is stagnant and can see everything going on is like telling on yourself pre-snap.”

Lions Getting Healthier on Defense

Cabinda’s release could help pave the way for McNeill to return to the active roster. The team reported that he was able to return to practice on Wednesday, his first time back since hurting his knee in a December 3 win over the New Orleans Saints.

“It felt really good to be back out there,” McNeill said after practice. “My energy is back. My mood is back. It’s really good.”

The team noted that McNeill has been a big part of Detroit’s strong rushing defense. The team is allowing the fifth-lowest total rushing yards in the NFL, with the third-lowest average yards per rush.

“Yeah, it’ll be good. It’s going to be good to get him back,” Dan Campbell told reporters after Wednesday’s. “And I know he’s looking forward to it just like we are, so he’s excited and he’ll get some work again here for us. You always, this time of year, for him, it’s going to kind of feel like Game 1 again. He’ll be fresh, have fresh legs and a fresh energy about him, so it’s good.”

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