Frank Ragnow has dreamt of being a Pro Bowl NFL player since he first strapped on a helmet as a little kid. Upon hearing the news last week that he made his first Pro Bowl, Ragnow's first order of business was to share the news with his mother and his family.
Unfortunately, that had to be done via family group text. No phone call. Ragnow was still on strict orders not to speak after damaging his vocal cords Week 14 vs. Green Bay.
"I wanted to FaceTime my mom and I literally couldn't talk to my mom," Ragnow said Friday, in his first media session with reporters since suffering the injury. "That was just frustrating wanting to celebrate with my family because they were really excited."
Ragnow went two weeks without talking after suffering the injury.
The injury occurred pretty innocently on the second series of the Packers game, when Ragnow said the pads of a linebacker he was blocking caught him right in the throat. Ragnow finished the game, but he's missed the last two contests for Detroit. He could be in line to play this week after returning to practice in limited fashion.
"The main concern these past couple weeks have been my vocal cords and really my voice in general," Ragnow said. "Otherwise, I would try to be out there, but I didn't want to mess with my voice for the rest of my life."
Ragnow won't need surgery and is on track to make a full recovery. He said he felt guilty not being out there with his teammates the last couple weeks. He said there's still some soreness, but he's feeling pretty confident in the return of his voice to pre-injury status.
Ragnow's had a breakout third season in Detroit. He's currently the second highest graded center in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. He hasn't allowed a single sack all year and only one quarterback hit.
It's been a tough couple weeks for Ragnow, so it was good to hear from him Friday and hopefully he gets to end the year doing what he does best.
Kicker Matt Prater has been very consistent in his Lions tenure, which is why some of the uncharacteristic misses from him this season have been a head scratcher. But hey, 2020, right?
Prater is 20-for-27 kicking field goals and 36-of-38 on extra points. The seven missed field goals are the most in a season for him since 2008. He's never missed more than one extra point in any season in his career.
"For me personally, it's been frustrating," Prater said Friday of his 2020 season. "I've missed some kicks that I expect to make. Been inconsistent. I feel like I'm still hitting it strong and well, just have not been as consistent as I'd like to be."
Prater had a new holder this season and didn't get the normal reps with punter/holder Jack Fox because of lost practice time, and the fact that Fox was in a camp-long punting battle with Arryn Siposs. Prater said that isn't an excuse, and the misses are just on him, but it could have played a factor.
The good news is Prater's inconsistency this year isn't linked to leg strength. He still has plenty of that and is striking the ball well, he just wasn't as consistent as he'd like with his accuracy. It's something he'll continue to work on in the offseason.
Prater, 36, is heading into free agency this offseason.
"I'd love to continue playing and hopefully it would be here," he said.
- Interesting note from NFL Media Research this week: Week 17 will feature three games (Dolphins at Bills, Steelers at Browns & Packers at Bears) that could potentially be played again in Wild Card Weekend.