Detroit — Whatever happened to Sam Martin’s ankle this offseason, the Detroit Lions aren’t saying and hasn’t made the punter available since the team returned for training camp.
“We don’t have to talk about anything about how anyone, anything happened during the offseason or anything of that nature,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “But you will be able to just check the report from here on out about any questions that you have about injuries and nature of injuries or anything of that nature. It will all be spelled out there, according to what the league requires us to do. Plain and simple.”
Martin, on the non-football injury list, suffered an ankle injury between the end of the team’s mandatory minicamp in June and the start of training camp in late July. The team had hoped he would be ready by the start of the season, but he wasn’t medically cleared.
By starting on the season on the non-football injury list, Martin is required to sit the first six games. He’s eligible to return for the Lions’ Week 8 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With Martin sidelined, the Lions turned to Kasey Redfern, but the backup suffered a season-ending knee injury on his second punt attempt of the season.
The Lions are working out punters on Monday and expected to announce a replacement early in the week. Caldwell doesn’t believe it will be a difficult transition for Detroit’s coverage units.
“I can think of a lot of (positions) that are a lot more difficult,” Caldwell said. “It’s just a matter of a guy doing his job, plain and simple. There will be some things he’s not going to know right away. We can limit that, but if he does his main job, that’s what counts.”
Thanks in large part to Martin, the Lions were third in the NFL in net punting in 2016, with a 45.2-yard averages. In the season-opening win over Arizona on Sunday, they averaged 37.8 yards.