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Allen Park – The Detroit Lions have released punter Jeff Locke.

With Sam Martin set to return to action after six weeks on the non-football injury list, Locke’s services were no longer needed by the team.

Signed prior to Week 2, after Martin’s original fill-in, Kasey Redfern, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season opener, Locke performed well for the Lions, averaging a career-high 42.2 yards net through five games.

But Martin is coming off one of the finest punting seasons in NFL history. His 44.2-yard net in 2016 is tied for the second-best mark since the league began tracking the stat in 1976.

Drafted in the fifth round in 2013, Martin, 27, is entering his fifth season with the Lions. This is the first year of a four-year, $13.6 million extension he signed with the team last year.

More: Detroit Lions mailbag: Golladay’s impact, Ebron’s targets, Steelers' big 3

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

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