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Lions Decline To Provide Update On TE Eric Ebron's Injury

LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Eric Ebron walked without a limp onto the practice field about 30 minutes after the rest of the Detroit Lions began practicing Monday.

Afterward, Ebron ignored questions from reporters and Caldwell declined to shed light on anything related to the injury suffered by the tight end over the weekend.

Only one thing is clear: Detroit's backup tight ends are going to get a great opportunity to earn playing time and perhaps a spot on the final roster.

Undrafted rookie Cole Wick and journeyman Matthew Mulligan are the leading candidates to get a lot of snaps Tuesday through Thursday during practices with the Pittsburgh Steelers and against them Friday night in an exhibition game.

Wick, an undrafted rookie from the University of the Incarnate Word in Texas, said he had offers to sign with Carolina, Oakland, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay along with a "few other teams" before accepting the Lions' offer. Wick took the only option he had to play in college and his position coach was Larry Moore, who made it in the NFL as an undrafted rookie and played for three teams from 1998 to 2005.

"I'm just going to do my best with the reps that I'm giving at this point and try to capitalize on all opportunities," Wick said.

Ebron went down with an undisclosed injury to his lower right leg Saturday during a mock game and was carted off the field.

Wick tried to make the most of Ebron going from the top player at the position to a tutor of sorts on Monday.

"He has been a great mentor," Wick said. "If I'm taking a step too shallow he's there to tell me. He's helping me with routes, footwork and blocking."

Mulligan has 17 career catches since making his league debut in 2009 with the New York Jets. Adam Fuehne, Orson Charles and Ben McCord are the other tight ends on Detroit's roster.

"Obviously they get a little bit more reps, which I think is always good and guys have to take advantage of it," Caldwell said. "When your rep count goes up you've got to make certain that you're playing well. Obviously you see them catch a few balls here and there, but there's a lot more to it than that."

Ebron went down with an undisclosed injury to his lower right leg Saturday during a mock game and was carted off the field.

"You're going to have some injuries happen all the time that way," Caldwell said. "You hope they don't, but sometimes they do."

The Lions were hoping Calvin Johnson would return for a 10th season, but the superstar receiver chose to retire. That led to them counting even more on Ebron, drafted No. 10 overall in 2014, in the passing game this season.

They might have to come up with Plan B. Ebron had 47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns. If healthy, he seemed set up to have the best year of his career.

Even before Detroit's best tight end was hurt, it didn't have much depth at the position.

Brandon Pettigrew is recovering from a torn knee ligament late last year and might not be healthy enough to start the season. Tim Wright, another veteran, had a season-ending knee injury earlier this year.

"You have to be able to adjust," Caldwell said. "It's a next-man up situation."



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(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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