Running back surprise: Lions cut C.J. Anderson after claiming Paul Perkins

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Lions released running back C.J. Anderson to make room for Paul Perkins, whom they signed from the Giants.

Allen Park — The Detroit Lions aren't messing around on their off-day.

Hours after making an unexpected change at backup quarterback, the Lions made a similar roster change in the team's backfield Tuesday afternoon, claiming running back Paul Perkins off waivers from the New York Giants and releasing C.J. Anderson to clear room for the new addition.  

Perkins, a former-fifth round pick out of UCLA, has spent the past three seasons with the Giants. He hasn't played in a regular season game since 2017, when he averaged a paltry 2.2 yards on 41 rushing attempts. 

He spent the 2018 season on injured reserve after suffering a pectoral injury in the offseason. This preseason, Perkins carried the ball 24 times for 100 yards, while catching nine passes for another 64 yards. He had been inactive the first two games of the regular season, prior to being waived on Monday.

In his final two years with the Bruins, Perkins was highly productive, racking up 3,358 yards from scrimmage and 26 touchdowns in 26 games. 

New England Patriots linebacker Calvin Munson (48) tackles New York Giants running back Paul Perkins (28) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Anderson had signed a one-year contract with the Lions this offseason, a deal that included $500,000 in guarantees. He ended up playing just 38 snaps with the franchise, carrying the ball 16 times for 43 yards in two games. 

In Detroit's victory over the Los Angeles Chargers last week, the Lions leaned more heavily on starter Kerryon Johnson, as well as rookie Ty Johnson, who played 13 snaps to Anderson's 12. 

"We are always trying to find our best players, and try to get our best players on the field, use their skill sets," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said during a Tuesday conference call. "We have a group of guys at the tight end position, at the wideout position, the running back position that we feel that is best to have skill sets that we want to get on the field, Ty is no different.

"He’s been able to have some nice runs," Bevell continued. "I think he had a pretty decent average, six yards or something, so it’s trying to get our best guys on the field any way we can."

On Tuesday afternoon, when he learned of his release, Anderson had been participating in the Aspen Institute's "Project Play Summit" in downtown Detroit. The event was designed to bring together leaders across youth, sports, and health from all over the country to focus on building healthy communities through sports.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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Records: Lions 1-0-1, Eagles 1-1

Line: Eagles by 6