After veteran wide receiver Josh Reynolds asked for and was granted his release from the Tennessee Titans earlier this week, he received a text from former teammate and current Lions quarterback Jared Goff.
"Did we get you yet?"
Reynolds' response: "Not yet, man, but it's in the works."
The Lions made it official Wednesday claiming Reynolds with the top waiver priority.
Reynolds played his first four NFL seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, catching passes from Goff.
"Josh is a great player," Goff said Wednesday before Detroit's claim of Reynolds was official. "I'm a fan of Josh and wherever he lands, I'm sure he'll be great."
Reynolds (6-3, 196) caught 10 passes for 90 yards in five games with the Titans this season in a reserve role before being released.
He had his best season in 2020 with the Rams with Goff as his quarterback, catching 52 passes for 618 yards and two scores in 16 games (13 starts). Reynolds caught 113 passes for 1,450 yards and nine touchdowns in his first four seasons with the Rams.
Reynolds said Thursday having a prior relationship with Goff is proving useful already because Goff can break down some concepts they run here to how they were called with the Rams. Reynolds said that has helped tremendously.
The Lions lost their top receiver, Tyrell Williams, Week 1 of the regular season due to a concussion, and he's since been waived with an injury settlement. They lost second-year wide receiver Quintez Cephus to a collar bone injury Week 5 in Minnesota.
Goff's relied heavily on tight end T.J. Hockenson (48 catches, 448 yards) and running back D'Andre Swift (47, 415) through the first half of the season.
Rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown leads the Lions' receivers with 27 catches on the year, and veteran Kalif Raymond paces them in yards with 334.
The hope is Reynolds can come in and provide a vertical threat and some playmaking ability on the outside.
Whether or not that can be as soon as Sunday, with only two days of practice and a Saturday walkthrough under his belt, is yet to be determined. But Reynolds thinks it's possible.
"Whatever they ask of me, I'll put my whole heart in," he said. "I haven't really heard if I'll be up or down this week. Just going to take it one day at a time, learn this playbook, continue to grow with JG (Jared Goff) and the rest of this team and get this thing moving."
ELLIOTT'S INCREASED ROLE
Jalen Elliott signed with the Lions as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame a year ago and has been grinding away and biding his time mostly on the practice squad.
He missed the first couple weeks of his first training camp this year due to COVID-19, but still showed enough in his limited practice time to earn a spot on the team's practice squad.
Elliott's been temporarily elevated to the active roster the last couple weeks, appearing in the past two games where he played 31 snaps on special teams. He saw his first extensive run on defense in the loss to Philadelphia, playing 24 defensive snaps and recording two tackles.
Elliott was signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster this week.
"It definitely feels like a big accomplishment," Elliott said of making the 53-man roster. "Something I wrote down on my goals for this year, but I know and everyone else knows that it's just the beginning. My work is just starting.
"I think it's so important for me to remember, 'Yes, this is where I wanted to be, but it's not the end-all be-all where I want to be ultimately.' Just trying to work even harder and show they gave me the nod and I deserve the nod. Just trying to make sure I do everything the right way just to make sure I'm on that field for years to come."
Pittsburgh's Najee Harris leads all rookie running backs with 830 scrimmage yards (541 rushing, 289 receiving) and six touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving) this season. He enters Week 10 having scored a touchdown with at least 75 scrimmage yards in each of his past five games. With 75 scrimmage yards and a touchdown Sunday vs. Detroit, Harris will become the sixth rookie to accomplish the feat in six consecutive games since 1950 (Eric Dickerson, Fred Taylor, Alvin Kamara, Franco Harris, Gale Sayers).
"Najee is a really good back, he's a big back," Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said Thursday. "Once he gets his shoulders turned down hill, he's hard to stop, so we've got to make sure we can get that guy going east to west as much as possible, and you see a lot in the red zone."
RUNNING BACK DEPTH
Swift and Jamaal Williams have been the work horses in Detroit's backfield through the first two months of the season, but with Williams missing Week 8 with a thigh injury and still dealing with the injury this week ahead of Sunday's matchup in Pittsburgh, Lions running backs coach and assistant head coach Duce Staley likes what Godwin Igwebuike and Jermar Jefferson offered filling in for Williams against the Eagles.
"You turn the film on, or you go back and look at it, those guys went in there and functioned pretty well," Staley said.
Igwebuike had a 6.0 yard average per rush gaining 18 yards on three carries. He also caught three passes for 40 yards (13.3 average).
Jefferson recorded Detroit's only touchdown, an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter.
We'll see if Williams progresses enough to get back on the field in Pittsburgh. If not, Staley and the Lions have faith Igwebuike and Jefferson can fill the void.