Before the second week of OTA practices began Tuesday, the Lions announced the signing of running back Matt Asiata.
Asiata, who spent his first five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, could give the Lions' run game a bit of a lift.
"I think it's a big key," Asiata said after Wednesday's practice. "It opens up the passing game. With Stafford back there, he can do whatever he wants. With a good running game, it will help out more."
To make room for Asiata on the roster, the Lions released fullback Michael Burton, a sign the team is moving away from the position altogether.
"The reason why Burton is no longer here is because that position, as you'd call it, slotted as such, a fullback – is not part of how we function," head coach Jim Caldwell said. "We find a way to get it done with other positions – tight ends and things of that nature. That's where we are."
Asiata joins Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner, Dwayne Washington, Mike James and Tion Green at the running back position. Riddick has yet to take place in practice as he recovers from a wrist injury, but he's been working off to the side.
RECEIVERS AT THE READY
After Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr., it's unclear where the rest of the Lions wide receivers stand. The remaining roster spots seem up for grabs.
Rookie receiver Kenny Golladay has stood out at both open OTA practices, and although it's early, he looks ready for a role at the NFL level.
"Yeah, he's one of those guys that really works at it," Caldwell said. "Obviously, we know he has the height and skillset to play the position, but like anything else, with a young guy he's learning."
Another guy to watch is Jace Billingsley. Billingsley could help the Lions out at receiver and in the return game.
"I see myself fitting in somewhere on this team, no matter what my job is," Billingsley said. "If it's just special teams or it's playing a lot of receiver, return game, wherever it is they want me ... I feel comfortable with it all. I'm ready to do it. The more you can do the better, and the return game is a big part of that."
Recap all the action from Week 2 of OTAs:
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:
- After a couple years as a Lions cornerback, Alex Carter is making the move to safety.
- Mike O'Hara takes a look back at five memorable overtime games involving the Lions.
- View photos of Lions rookies learning to make nutritious choices while grocery shopping.