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Trufant makes his first trip to Ford Field since signing with Lions

The Lions took their training camp setup in Allen Park down the road about 15 miles to Ford Field Wednesday. It was an opportunity to acclimate themselves once again with their home stadium, run through some gameday operations, and introduce their new free agents and rookies to their home turf.

For veteran cornerback and free-agent signee Desmond Trufant, it was the first time he's been back at Ford Field since that infamous Lions-Falcons game in 2017. The Lions lost to Trufant and the Falcons on the clock run-off play with the Golden Tate catch and review at the goal line in the final moments.

"It was dope just to get out and play football in the stadium," Trufant said of Wednesday's practice. "I don't think there's going to be any fans at the games, so you know today was just a run through of what it's going to be like. We have to bring the energy ourselves and create that excitement for each other while we're out there. I'm looking forward to it."

Trufant, a former first-round pick of the Falcons in 2013, signed with Detroit in free agency this offseason, and is expected to start at one of the outside cornerback spots next week in Detroit's regular-season opener at Ford Field against the division rival Chicago Bears.

Trufant's been good for the Lions so far in training camp. He brings a veteran presence to a cornerback room that will also rely heavily on rookie first-round pick Jeff Okudah and second-year corner Amani Oruwariye. Trufant's started 97 career games and is coming off a 2019 season where he recorded four interceptions in just nine game before his season was cut short by injury.

He's expected to help fill the void left by Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, who was traded to Philadelphia this offseason.

It's a pretty safe bet Trufant will be a starter at one of the cornerback spots next Sunday when the Lions square off against the Bears, but who will be starting opposite him is still a bit of a question mark. The Lions have been rotating both Oruwariye and Okudah in that role throughout camp. The two have less than two weeks to make their case for the start.

Asked about Okudah specifically in a Zoom call after Wednesday's Ford Field practice, Trufant said he likes what he's seen from the No. 3 overall pick.

"He's a great guy," Trufant said. "He has a lot of potential. He's got everything you need. He's tall, fast, long, can run, he's physical and smart. He definitely has a bright future. Obviously, he just has to learn the game and find his rhythm, that's what everyone has to do, especially at the corner position, finding that comfort zone, but he has a bright future. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does."

It'll be a new-look secondary for the Lions, for sure, with potentially three new starters back there. Just how it all comes together and how quickly will be a big storyline early on for the Lions.

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