Running back Kerryon Johnson is eligible to return for the Lions from injured reserve Sunday in Denver, and the second-year running back says he's ready if called upon.
"I feel good, man," Johnson said Thursday. "I've been practicing for, what? Three weeks now, I guess? It's been fine. Just trying to get back to my old self, just working, being out there having something to do instead of sitting around watching everybody else do stuff. It's very exciting, so I've been happy."
Johnson is hoping he can be a spark these last two weeks of the season, and go into the offseason with some confidence.
Speaking of the offseason, Johnson was asked Thursday about Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, a likely top 10 pick in this year's 2020 NFL Draft.
The Lions (3-10-1) currently hold the No. 5 pick in the draft order.
Johnson said he and Brown used to hate each other when Brown first got to Auburn.
"I was pretty rude to Derrick when he first got there," Johnson recalled. "I called him Brownie because he was all baby fat and just soft as ... "
Johnson, however, quickly learned how strong Brown actually was, and tried to avoid the big 6-foot-5, 318 interior defender on the practice field.
"He has become and outstanding player. He's always been a good guy, despite the rudeness I was to him, and he's even gotten better," Johnson said. "I mean, you look at him, I mean, you talk to him, you read about him, he's been outstanding. When he came back, everybody questioned like, 'What are you doing? Why are you not (going to NFL)?'
"He came back to finish something that he started and he finished it, he got better, he kept that team together. He won some tough games for those guys. He played excellent. Everything he was supposed to do he did, so I can't be anymore happy for him."
What about the possibility of Detroit adding another Auburn player like Brown to the Detroit locker room this offseason?
"Hey, I'm all for that," he said. "He's a good, fantastic player, so I'm all for that. As many Auburn guys on the team we can have, I'm all for it."
It's not the altitude head coach Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions are worried about Sunday in the Mile High city of Denver. It's actually dehydration.
"The biggest thing that affects you in Denver is really the dehydration," Patricia said Friday. "That's really the biggest part of it with where they are. Your muscles, your everything – you're just dehydrated much sooner, so your muscles fatigue from that aspect of it a little bit quicker.
"Hydration, and rest, and things like that – taking care of your body – is probably the most important thing from that aspect of it."
The Lions test the hydration level of players throughout the course of the week and develop and optimal performance and hydration plans accordingly.
"We have a couple hydration protocols that we go through, depending on the guys," Patricia said. "A lot of our guys, they sweat at different rates through the course of the week. We monitor their weight from that standpoint of just how much they're losing, whether it's practice or just their general hydration levels through the course of the week.
"That is a real thing for us ... just to make sure that we don't leave here tomorrow, I would say dehydrated – or not hydrated but less hydrated than normal."
NEW PERSONAL BEST
In his 11th season in the NFL, 34-year old wide receiver Danny Amendola needs just 49 yards to set a new career high for receiving yards in a season, a mark he set his second season in the NFL all the way back in 2010 with the Rams at 689 yards.
Amendola has three 100-yard performances for the Lions on the season and has been a consistent threat in the slot for them. So, what's allowed him to find the fountain of youth this season?
"I feel really, really good," Amendola said Friday. "I take good care of my body and I've learned a lot from what I may or may not have done or what others do or don't do. I just try to take everything I've learned over the years and apply it to my method and try to play the best football I can."
Amendola said he's just tried to fill a role in Darrell Bevell's offense, and he doesn't mind doing the dirty work inside. He's a guy Patricia said he'd do anything for because of the way he plays the game.
Amendola's motor never stops, which allows him to beat defenders a decade younger than him. He's been good on the field, in the locker room, and in the meeting room for the Lions. And now he has a chance to set a personal season best for yards this week in Denver.