Allen Park — The Detroit Lions had a new addition to the injury report on the first day of training camp: head coach Matt Patricia.
Patricia rolled into his first press conference of camp Thursday with the help of a knee scooter, explaining he had a surgery to clean up a lower-leg issue during the offseason break.
"As far as the head coach is concerned, and his current health status condition, really just, there are really very few times during the year where you kind of have an opportunity to get things done," Patricia said. "Pretty much been dealing with a little bit of a lower-leg issue, a tendon muscle thing, for a while, so I kind of had that cleaned up. Just trying to stay off it for a couple days so it heals properly. Day by day, we'll go from there."
During practice, Patricia utilized a golf cart to get around the field, something that offered him a different perspective on the team's early practices, conducted with the rookies prior to the veterans reporting on Wednesday.
Instead of being in the middle of the field and bouncing from position group to position group like he usually does, the coach has had to watch from a distance, 10-15 yards further away. In doing so, he's been impressed with how smoothly things have been running, proving that his operation is sinking in during his second season at the helm.
"Guys are running practices are on their own," Patricia said. "Just watching them move from drill to drill, they know where to go, they know where everything is, they know what to expect, they know how to get it lined up."
As for when he'll be at full strength, Patricia said he'll be overcautious to avoid a potential setback.
Slay, Harrison to NFI
Patricia also announced cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Damon Harrison will start camp on the non-football injury list. It was heavily implied that it would be a short stay while the players get their conditioning up to the desired level.
Slay and Harrison reported to camp with the rest of their teammates this week after staying away from the team during the early portions of the offseason program. That included sitting out mandatory minicamp last month.
Both players are seeking contract extensions despite having two years remaining on each of their current deals.