Until now, that is.
The team and free agent Jed Collins agreed to a terms on a new one-year contract after his visit to Allen Park Wednesday.
"I've kind of always liked to have a fullback around," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said last month at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
"The problem has been if the guy is just going to be an I-back, and that's all he's going to do -- play 10 snaps -- then how do you keep him active? So you've got to have a fullback who can do multiple things."
Collins can do that.
He’s a blocking fullback first, but also contributed heavily on special teams in New Orleans the last three seasons and caught 39 passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns.
Lions new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi spent the last three seasons with Collins in New Orleans and there’s an instant familiarity there.
Detroit met with fullback Henry Hynoski last week, but he chose to re-sign with the Giants instead.
Collins carried the ball just 19 times over the last three years in New Orleans, but caught 14 passes in each of the last two years.
Collins was non-tendered by the Saints as a restricted free agent.