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NOTEBOOK: Johnson & Scarbrough could share time in backfield 

It turns out Alabama and Auburn can get along after all.

Former Auburn and Alabama alums Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough could have an opportunity Sunday in Denver to share the Detroit Lions backfield.

Johnson, Detroit's second-round pick in 2018, was a four-star recruit out of Madison Academy in Alabama and played at Auburn from 2015-17. He was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year his junior year in 2017 and considered one of the top running back prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Scarbrough was a five-star recruit and one of the nation's top high school players playing his sophomore and junior high school seasons in Alabama and then his senior season at IMG Academy in Florida.

"Everybody in Alabama knew who Bo was before he even got to Alabama," Johnson said. "Have you seen a picture of him when he was like 15? That's when everyone heard of Bo."

Scarbrough was also at Alabama from 2015-17 and was 2-1 vs. Auburn in the three seasons with the Tide. He won two national championships.

Johnson was the higher draft pick – Scarbrough was a seventh-round pick by Dallas – and has had more success and opportunity in the NFL his first two seasons. Johnson is eligible to return from injured reserve this week and play his first game since injuring his knee Week 7.

Scarbrough missed last week's game vs. Tampa Bay with a rib injury, but could be in line to play this week with a week's rest. He was very good in his prior four starts for the Lions after being signed to Detroit's practice squad in early November and then being actived to the 53-man roster a couple weeks later. He's averaging 4.2 yards per carry in four games.

"He's been doing excellent, man." Johnson said of Scarbrough. "So, hopefully we can keep that going. Hopefully, next year we can continue to grow together at the same time.

"As a tandem I think we just really kind of benefit each other. It's hard for defenses to prepare for two different running backs."

Scarbrough said he knew Johnson from the football camps they took part in during high school. He joked that he doesn't really like Auburn guys in general, but Johnson is cool in his book.

The Lions don't have a lot to play for these final two weeks of the season, but a Johnson-Scarbrough backfield would be fun to watch, and maybe provide a preview of what that unit could do in 2020.

"I think we'll be dominant," Scarbrough said. "Kerryon has his style of running, and I have my style of running, and when you get two guys with different styles, but somewhat similar, I think it's harder for the defense because you don't actually switch out linebackers and safeties.

"You can switch out running backs. And I just think if you just keep pounding the ball and pounding and pounding, then, by the beginning of the fourth quarter, the defense starts to wear out."


Cornerback Darius Slay earned his third straight Pro Bowl nod Tuesday as he was voted in as a reserve on the NFC team behind starters Marshon Lattimore and Richard Sherman. He made the team without being in the top 10 in the fan voting, which makes up a third of the vote. It just goes to show what players and coaches think of Slay's talents. He's earned each of his three Pro Bowl selections on the voting from his fellow players and coaches.

"I don't think I've ever been top 10 in (fan) voting, even when I led the league in picks (in 2017) I wasn't in the top 10 in voting," Slay said Wednesday. "Coaches watch film enough. Players do as well. I appreciate the respect they gave me. I go out there and work hard and I compete at a high level, so just them noticing, I appreciate it."

Slay said the free trip to Orlando and Disney World is always the highlight for the Slay family. He also said earning a Pro Bowl nod hasn't become old hat to him, even though it's three straight now. He still gets excited for it.


Wide receiver Kenny Golladay leads the NFL with 10 touchdown receptions, and is also 10th in yards with 1,052, yet Golladay wasn't selected to the Pro Bowl. He's the third alternate in the NFC at receiver.

One of the problems for Golladay is the fact the NFC is loaded with big-name, established receivers like Julio Jones, Michael Thomas and Mike Evans. Tampa Bay's Chris Godwin earned the fourth and final NFC spot at receiver. Godwin has 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns on the year.

"It's all good," Golladay said Wednesday about missing out on the Pro Bowl. "It's still an honor just to be noticed. It is what it is. It's whatever."

Golladay did say that'll he'll use the snub as fuel moving forward. He still appears to be flying under the radar in terms of national name recognition, even though he's had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and currently leads the league in touchdown receptions.


The Lions signed free agent defensive tackle Jamie Meder to the active roster Wednesday.

The Lions are shorthanded upfront having put Mike Daniels and Da'Shawn Hand on injured reserve the last two weeks, and with A’Shawn Robinson beginning the week as a non-participant in practice with a shoulder injury.

Meder most recently spent the preseason with the Seattle Seahawks. He originally entered the NFL with Baltimore as an undrafted free agent out of Ashland University in 2014, He spent four seasons with the Cleveland Browns (2014-17), appearing in 43 games (16 starts) and totaling 95 total tackles and 2.0 sacks.

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