Allen Park — It's been far from an ideal start to Austin Bryant's rookie year, and it remains unclear whether the Detroit Lions defensive end will have an opportunity to see the field in 2019.
The Lions selected Bryant in the fourth round out of Clemson, but held him out of the early stages of the offseason program and the start of training camp as he rehabbed his way back from a torn pectoral muscle he suffered and played through during his senior season.
Then, a week after hitting the practice field, Bryant found himself on the shelf once again, with an unidentified upper-body injury. In the month since, he hasn't been able to return to action, missing the entirety of the preseason, as well as both sets of joint practices the Lions conducted during training camp.
Even though the Lions only got a week of practice out of the 6-foot-4, 271-pounder to date, coach Matt Patricia saw things he liked from the rookie defender.
"I think he showed us some really good things that he does on the field," Patricia said during a Friday conference call. "He's attentive, he works really hard, he's a consistent person in the building every single day. So there's a lot of positive there.
"The problem for us was not getting to see enough of him on the field as training camp went on. That's part of the decision-making we're still trying to go through, look at all the different options and all the situations we can do. But certainly someone we thought was working in the right direction"
While the severity of Bryant's injury remains unclear, if it's still a long-term issue, the Lions can take one of two approaches. They can place him on injured reserve before Saturday's deadline, ending his season. The alternative is keeping him on the initial 53-man roster for 24 hours and placing him on IR on Sunday. That would make him eligible to return starting Week 9 of the regular season.