Allen Park — Lions coach Jim Caldwell got a little testy when the topic of his post-practice news conference Tuesday turned to cornerback Chris Houston.
Houston, who had surgery on his toe in April, has not been around the team this offseason.
After saying his absence was excused, Caldwell was asked how Houston is keeping up with learning the new defense.
“That was sort of a trick question,” he said. “He hasn’t been here. How does he keep up? He hasn’t been here. We understand he hasn’t been here and he’s been excused. When he gets back, whatever happens, we will work it out at that time.”
Asked if it would be helpful if Houston were here, even if it was just to be in the meetings and on the field, Caldwell said, “We excused him, he’s not expected to be here. He’s right where he’s supposed to be at this point in time. It’s where we expect him to be.”
Rookie receiver TJ Jones was not at practice. Caldwell said his absence was excused, though he wouldn’t say why he missed.
… Receiver Golden Tate was on the field but did not participate in drills. He missed time in OTAs with a shoulder injury.
… Also sitting out were defensive endZiggy Ansah (shoulder) and running back Joique Bell (knee). Left guard Rob Sims (shoulder), safety Glover Quin (ankle) and defensive end Jason Jones (knee) did not take part in team drills.
… Rodney Austin had been filling in at left guard for Sims with the first unit. There was one series of first-team reps where rookie Travis Swanson played left guard and Austin played center. Swanson played center at Arkansas.