Allen Park — After missing most of training camp, the entire preseason and the first seven games of the regular season, Detroit Lions rookie defensive lineman Austin Bryant finally will return to practice this week.
A fourth-round pick out of Clemson, Bryant has been on injured reserve after re-aggravating the pectoral injury he had surgical repaired during the offseason.
The forgotten member of a dominant Tigers defensive line that saw three players selected in the first round of the draft, Bryant earned third-team, All-ACC honors in 2018 with 44 tackles and 8.0 sacks, despite playing with a torn pec.
The previous year, he earned All-America consideration from multiple outlets, including the Associated Press.
Shortly after selecting Bryant, Lions general manager Bob Quinn raved about the value and the player's toughness.
“I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to take him there,” Quinn said. "I think when you go back and watch him against the best competition they’ve played the last couple of years, he’s really kind of stepped up his game, and I think he really showed a lot of toughness playing through the injury."
It will be interesting to see how the Lions utilize Bryant, who primarily played on the line of scrimmage at Clemson. During the brief moments he was on the field this offseason, the team showed interest in occasionally playing the 6-foot-4, 271-pounder off the ball.
By returning Bryant, 22, to practice, the Lions start a 21-day clock where they must decide whether to add the rookie to the active roster or keep him on injured reserve, ending his season. If he stays on injured reserve, he would be prohibited from practicing the remainder of the year.
Bryant is eligible to be activated as soon as Detroit's Week 10 road game against Chicago on Nov. 10.