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NOTEBOOK: Vaitai ruled out, Golladay doubtful for Lions-Bears

The Lions' offense will be shorthanded Sunday when they square off against a Chicago Bears defense that Pro Football Focus ranks No. 6 overall in the league heading into the season.

Pro Bowl wide receiver Kenny Golladay is dealing with a hamstring injury that severely limited his participation in practice this week. The team officially listed Golladay as doubtful to play Sunday on Friday's injury report.

Starting right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai injured his foot in practice Wednesday and sat out both Thursday and Friday. The Lions listed Vaitai as out for Sunday.

"For all that stuff we're taking it day by day," Patricia said of the Golladay and Vaitai injuries on Friday. "It is that type of situation, that type of injury right now.

"We're trying to prevent them from being what I would call long-term type soft tissue injury. So, even if we get guys that are tight that maybe have something on the milder side that maybe 7-, 10-, 14-day type stuff, trying to prevent the four week type of injury there."

If Golladay isn't able to go Sunday, the Lions have to still feel pretty good about the weapons they have at receiver with Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, Quintez Cephus, Marvin Hall and Jamal Agnew. Cephus and Hall can both play outside in place of Golladay. That receiver group was one of Detroit's deepest positions heading into the season.

Still, Golladay is the team's top receiver and led both the team and the NFL last season with 11 touchdown grabs. If he doesn't play, he'll be missed.

The expectation is for swing tackle Tyrell Crosby to plug into Vaitai's spot at right tackle. Crosby's played in 26 games with seven starts over his first two seasons, so he's experienced. He'll obviously have a tough task trying to keep Chicago's talented front seven on defense off quarterback Matthew Stafford and away from Detroit's running backs.


A couple weeks back during training camp, second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson said he was still dealing with some of the lingering effects of the ankle injury that ended his rookie season prematurely, but he was close to getting back to 100 percent.

Speaking to reporters this week ahead of Sunday's regular-season opener against Chicago, Hockenson said he's feeling good and ready to go.

"It's 100 percent," he said.

Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said this offseason he wants to get the tight ends more involved in the offense.

Hockenson bulked up this offseason, and heads into his second season set on having more fun playing the game and taking advantage of any opportunities he gets.

"It doesn't really matter what you did yesterday, it doesn't really matter what you did an hour ago, what you did a year ago, but what you're doing now," he said. "I think in that aspect, I've tried to learn from that and you're always trying to prove something. Whether it's good or bad, you're trying to go out there and do your job and keep proving yourself."


Today marks the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. Lions head coach Matt Patricia grew up in upstate New York and has family who lives on Long Island.

"I think people go through their lives and have those moments where everybody remembers exactly where they were when things happened," Patricia said. "I was coaching at Syracuse University at the time. I remember exactly where I was – I was with one of the players and kind of the thoughts that went through my head initially when I saw it, and then how quickly everything turned."

Patricia also had close friends living in New York City at the time and talked about the concern and fear he felt in the immediate aftermath.

"I still think about it. Obviously, that will be a big part of that day and making sure that we do remember all of the people that were lost, all of those that sacrificed and certainly, that event and what that meant to the country. It's definitely something that I think about a lot."

Syracuse hosted Auburn in a football game 11 days after the attacks.

"Coaching at Syracuse, we were actually the first sporting event in the state of New York after 9/11," Patricia said. "I believe we played Auburn on the Saturday night after that, and you could feel the power and the impact of what that was after an event like that. Pretty serious, pretty real still, for me."


The players voted on 2020 captains Thursday and selected quarterback Matthew Stafford, tackle Taylor Decker, defensive end Trey Flowers, safety Duron Harmon, linebacker Jarrad Davis and long snapper Don Muhlbach.

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