Last Saturday, wide receiver Ryan Broyles asked general manager Martin Mayhew to make him part of the first wave of cuts this week, and Monday, his request was granted.
After three-plus years in Detroit, the 2012 second-round pick will try to make his NFL mark with another team.
“He is a guy that’s got talent ... and I’m wishing the best for him,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “The guy had some injuries early, got himself healthy and competed. There was a lot of good competition, and there’s only a small opportunity to make it happen.
“The other guys were able to demonstrate a little bit better than he did at this particular point in time, but, obviously, the jury’s not out on him. I think you’ll see he’ll land on his feet and do quite well.”
Broyles tweeted a note expressing his gratitude to the organization, mentioning Mayhew, as well as the recent coaching staffs, for giving him an opportunity.
“Lions organization thank you for believing in me from the very beginning,” Broyles wrote. “I have enjoyed my time here. Although it is time for me to move on there will be a special place in my heart for these memories.”
Broyles bid farewell to his Lions wide receiver mates Saturday. He asked Mayhew to make him part of the first wave of cuts this week, and on Monday, the team granted his request.
Broyles will wait to see which team claims him off waivers or try to sign a contract as a free agent.
The other eight players cut were running back Desmond Martin (Wayne State), quarterback Garrett Gilbert, wide receiver Vernon Johnson, defensive tackle Roy Philon, defensive end Erik Williams, tight end Deon Butler and cornerbacks R.J. Stanford and Jocquel Skinner.
The Lions have 78 players on the roster, and need to make at least three more cuts by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
While a brief injury limited him during camp this year, Broyles received few opportunities during exhibitions, and most were with the third string. He had five catches for 51 yards the first two games, but didn’t contribute statistically last week against the Jaguars.
Mayhew continued to express optimism with regard to Broyles’ future. But when the 2014 season began, Broyles found himself pigeonholed as the fifth receiver, and was active for five games. In January, Mayhew said he looked forward to seeing what Broyles could do entering this offseason — healthy.
Although Caldwell praised Broyles, the coaching staff hired last year didn’t give him much of a chance to impress in the regular season even when backups Jeremy Ross and Corey Fuller contributed minimally.
“This league is kind of built on the opportunities you get,” Caldwell said. “I’ve been fired a couple times. I’d certainly like to go back and say, ‘You know what, I’d like to have a little bit more time.’
“But it doesn’t happen that way. You’ve got to do with what you have right here, and right now and that’s what counts and that’s how you’re judged.”
After recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee suffered his senior year at Oklahoma, Broyles — he left college as the Football Bowl Subdivision’s career leader in receptions, a mark bettered by East Carolina’s Justin Hardy last year — appeared in 10 games as a rookie in 2012, making 22 catches for 310 yards with two touchdowns and showed the same knack for finding holes in the defense.
But in Week 13, Broyles tore the ACL in his right knee, costing him the end of his rookie year and the beginning of Year 2. In 2013, he returned in Week 3, and in six games, had eight catches for 85 yards before another injury — a ruptured Achilles tendon in his left leg in Week 8.
Broyles recovered quickly again, but in 2014, he was active five games, mostly due to Calvin Johnson being injured. He had two catches for 25 yards.
“Control what you can control,” Broyles said this month. “Whenever opportunity presents itself, try to make the best of it.”
Now, Broyles will try to make the best of his chances elsewhere, and his fellow receivers in Detroit will be paying attention, to both his football endeavors and his son born in June.
“He just wished for the best for us, and we said the same thing to him,” TJ Jones said. “Keep in touch, keep us updated with the growth of his little man and let us know where he lands.”