LIONS INSIDER

NOTEBOOK: DeJon Gomes and Adrian Peterson have history; Montell Owens to short-term IR and more

Posted Sep 3, 2013

New Lions safety DeJon Gomes talks about his now-famous hit on Vikings running back Adrian Peterson; Jim Schwartz talks about Montell Owens going to short-term IR and more

New Detroit Lions safety DeJon Gomes knew the questions were coming. It was only a matter of time.

It only took a few questions into his introductory locker room session with the Detroit media for the subject of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to be brought up.

It was is Gomes, by the way, whose hit on Peterson in December of 2011 tore the All Pro runner's ACL. The injury allowed Peterson to reach a new level of superhuman stardom when he returned to the field just nine months later and ended up rushing for 2,097 yards.

"I actually thought about that," Gomes admits. "People told me he tore his ACL and came (back) and rushed for this.

"He's a good back and we just have to go out there and stop him."

Sunday won't be the first time the two have played each other since the injury, though. Minnesota played at Washington (Gomes' former team) Oct. 14 last year.

"I talked to him after the game last year and he understands that we were just out there playing football and freak things happen," Gomes said.

Gomes says that whole situation with Peterson is behind him and is now focused on learning the Lions scheme and finding ways he can help his new team.

The Lions claimed Gomes off waivers Sunday because of his size, experience and versatility.

"He had a little bit of experience," head coach Jim Schwartz said. "Good tackler. Can play some special teams. Has some starting experience. Good ball skills. Plays free or strong.

"We had a target on him and we were able to get the claim in on him and able to get him. We'll get him up to speed as quickly as we can."

WHY SHORT-TERM IR FOR OWENS?

NFL teams can only designate one player for short-term injured reserve in a season and the Lions opted to use that one exception for running back Montell Owens.

Owens suffered a knee injury on a non-contact play against the New England Patriots the third preseason game.

"The way that tag works is that you have to use it the first half of the season for it to be any kind of effective," Schwartz said. "You can bring back injured guys, but you just have to not replace them on your 53.

"I think the most important thing was trying to take Montell's case on its own and trying to make the best decision that would facilitate him coming back to us. That seemed like it was the best avenue."

Owens, a Pro Bowler in 2010 and 2011, was brought in as a special teams ace and a player who could add stability and leadership.

It's for those reasons the Lions wanted to place the short-term designation on him and allow him to rejoin the roster in six weeks.

"Montell can do a lot of different things for a team," Schwartz said. "He can play special teams, run the ball, block, pass protect. He's a very good leader in the locker room. We're not going to miss his leadership because he's going to be around and in meetings and stuff like that.

"The guys are going to have to pick up in some of those other roles. Whether it's lead blocking, special teams, multidimensional players, those will all be important roles for other guys to step in and fill until Montell gets healthy."

The Lions will not be able to use the designation on another player early in the season. They'd have to either place that player on season-ending IR or reserve his roster spot.

SPURLOCK WINS RETURN JOB

Veteran receiver, kick returner and special teams performer Micheal Spurlock didn't get a lot of opportunities in the preseason to showcase to coaches what he could do, mainly because coaches needed to see what rookie Steven Miller could do.

Spurlock returned just five punts (7.0 average) in four preseason games and one kickoff, but that limited sample size, coupled with his history of production, and his performance in practice, was all Schwartz said he needed when it came to choosing a new return man to replace Stefan Logan.

"He's very experienced in doing it," Schwartz said. "He can do both and he had a couple of touchdowns last year doing it.

"His experience and what he did in practice, you sort of knew what you were going to get going into games with him, real games. He got enough work to stay ready, but he can play wide receiver for us. There are other roles on special teams. Can return. He has a lot of skills that can be used in a lot of different areas in the game."

Spurlock has five career touchdown returns (three kickoff and two punt).

"It's going to be good to get out the first game and kind of bust that bubble," Spurlock said. "During the preseason, you don't get to work with the same guys, so just kind of building trust with me and me trusting them where we're a family and thinking alike and trying to make plays to help this team win."

PRACTICE REPORT

The Lions begin their first week of regular season preparation fairly healthy, with receiver Calvin Johnson, safety Louis Delmas and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh all on the field for the portion of practice open to the media.

The only players not participating were defensive end Ziggy Ansah and Owens.

Ansah hasn't practiced in more than a week with an undisclosed injury. The rookie was out at practice watching and helping with individual drills but not participating.

"Injury report will come out tomorrow," said Schwartz, when asked about Ansah Tuesday.

"We'll get all those guys back as quickly as we can. I think we'll be fairly healthy going in to the first game. That's about the best we can expect coming out of training camp. As coaches we're ready to go in any direction if we have to."

Ansah hasn't practiced since Aug. 24, but Schwartz doesn't seem too concerned with the extended layoff affecting his performance when he does return to the field.

"He got a lot of reps early in camp," he said.

Rashean MathisRashean Mathis was one of four players to wear a new number Tuesday.

NEW NUMBERS

There were also a couple of number changes after the initial 53-man roster was determined Saturday.

Rookie tight end Joseph Fauria is now No. 80, defensive tackle Justin Bannan is No. 97, cornerback Rashean Mathis is No. 31 and safety DeJon Gomes is No. 24.