Lions LB Bynes knows starting spot isn't guaranteed

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Josh Bynes

Indianapolis — Linebacker looks like one of the Lions’ biggest holes this offseason. Stephen Tulloch was cut and Tahir Whitehead is set to be a free agent.

Currently, Josh Bynes is atop the depth chart at middle linebacker, and even though he hopes to be a starter in 2016, he knows many things could change between now and the start of next season.

“You never know,” he said Thursday outside an NFL Players Association meeting for agents. “The thing is, the way this business is, it’s going to work out the way it’s going to work out.

“I can’t really say it’s my job because no job ain’t earned until after training camp. Right now, whatever they want me to do, I’m perfectly fine with that.”

The Lions expect DeAndre Levy to be healthy this season after appearing in just one game in 2015 due to a torn labrum in his hip. He should return to his spot as the weak-side linebacker.

“Everybody knows that’s his spot,” Bynes said.

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Bynes primarily filled in for Levy last season and finished second on the team with 82 tackles. In 2014, Bynes’ first year in Detroit, he rotated with Whitehead in the middle, and he feels comfortable playing inside or outside.

Tulloch’s season-ending injury led to the Lions signing Bynes off the Ravens’ practice squad in 2014, the team he’d been with since 2011. Even though Tulloch’s departure could give Bynes more opportunities again, he said it’s tough to see Tulloch go.

“The nature of the business is the nature of the business, and they have their reasons why they let him go,” Bynes said.

The Lions likely will search for linebackers in free agency — potentially re-signing Whitehead — and the draft, but Bynes is looking forward to the chance to prove he can be in the middle of the defense.

“If they need me to play middle, I’m totally comfortable with it because I’ve played that since … I don’t know how long,” he said. “I’m fine with that because I love that control of the defense. I think I’ve been doing that the last several years.”