Allen Park — The Lions avoided serious injury for most of the pre-season, but in addition to second-round pick Kyle Van Noy dealing with a potential long-term ailment, the team placed safety DeJon Gomes on injured reserve Monday.
Gomes suffered an injury on a brutal helmet-to-helmet collision in the Lions’ second exhibition game against Oakland when cornerback Jonte Green, who was cut Monday, pushed Raiders tight end Scott Simonson into him near the goal line.
The Lions initially said Gomes’ injury was in his neck, but coach Jim Caldwell said Tuesday it’s his shoulder. Caldwell declined to say whether or not Gomes will need surgery.
“He’s had a bit of a shoulder injury, and that’s probably all I want to go into in regard to that,” he said.
The loss of Gomes will go under the radar, but it is a blow to the team’s secondary depth. Though it was a tight competition with Don Carey, Isa Abdul-Quddus and undrafted rookie Jerome Couplin, Gomes likely would’ve entered the season as the No. 3 or 4 safety behind starters Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo. He also would’ve been a key special teams contributor, which he was in 2013 after the Lions claimed him off waivers from Washington on Sept. 1.
Gomes, a fifth-round pick in 2011, declined to discuss the severity of his injury Tuesday, but he did talk about the emotions that go along with his season ending before it began.
“Players look forward to the season, and any time you get news like that, it’s not the best news,” he said. “But at the same time, your health is most important. You’ve just got to stay positive.”
Gomes’ hit on Simonson led to a fumble the Lions recovered, but the injuries were the most memorable part of the play. Both Gomes and Simonson, who suffered a head injury but returned to practice last Monday, lay on the ground for a while and neither returned to the game.
“It didn’t feel too outside the norm of a hard-hitting football play,” Gomes said. “Later I realized it was a little bit worse than just a hard hit. On the field, I didn’t think it was that bad.”
Gomes thought he played much better in Oakland than in the exhibition opener against Cleveland, and he was hoping to continue building on that performance.
“Obviously, that’s not the case anymore,” he said. “That’s life.”