Lions in holding pattern with Damon Harrison
Mobile, Ala. — The Detroit Lions remain in a holding pattern with defensive tackle Damon Harrison.
The dominant defender, who openly acknowledged he was seriously considering retirement after a trying season, has been quiet with the team and on social media in recent weeks while he weighs his future.
Lions coach Matt Patricia said he hasn't talked to Harrison recently, but the coach reiterated that he tells all his players to get away from the immediate emotions brought upon by the end of the season before making any career decisions.
"At the end of the season, I tell all the players, coaches, everybody that's involved, I just think everyone needs to let the emotion of the season calm down," Patricia said. "Again, it seems crazy, but it's only January. We're not even into February yet. All that stuff will take care of itself. We'll handle all that like we normally do, in-house and private conversations between everybody that's involved."
Harrison, who battled through a number of injuries last season, even missed his first game in more than seven seasons when he was sidelined on Thanksgiving.
"It's been tough," Harrison said through tears after Detroit's season finale in late December. "Fought through some injuries all year and wasn't able to ever get back to the form I'm used to. I've got too much pride, man. I've been doing this too long. If I can't be the player I'm used to being, I think my teammates deserve better, my family deserves better, the fans deserve better."
Harrison briefly addressed the topic on Twitter two days later, clarifying, among other things, that the reason he had skipped out on OTAs and mandatory minicamp was to tend to his wife through a difficult pregnancy and had nothing to do with his desire with a new contract.
Harrison hasn't tweeted since.
The Lions did reward Harrison with a contract extension during training camp last year, providing him with additional guarantees after a stellar performance the previous season. He remains under contract for two more seasons and has a cap hit of $11.75 million in 2020.
If he retires, or the Lions cut him, it would free $6.75 million, but would also create a massive hole to fill on the roster.