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Lions' Kenny Golladay endures 'very frustrating' wait; he hopes to return vs. Cardinals

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

As the Detroit Lions have dropped their first two games of the 2020 season, all Kenny Golladay could do was watch. The Pro Bowl receiver, coming off a season where he led the NFL in touchdown catches, has been sidelined by a hamstring injury. 

Players are taught early in their careers to control what they can control. Golladay couldn't control that he got hurt, but it hasn't made the situation any less frustrating. 

Kenny Golladay

"Very frustrating," Golladay said on Friday. "You know, the worst part is me just being pretty much on the sideline or at home watching and not being able to be out there with my guys making plays."

Detroit's offense hasn't fallen apart without Golladay, but they've certainly missed his presence, particularly in the red zone and in the deep-passing attack. The Lions have only converted 57 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line into touchdowns and have yet to compete a 40-yard pass play, after tying for fourth in the league with 13 a year ago. 

This is the second time in Golladay's four-year career he's missed time with a hamstring strain. As a rookie in 2017, he was knocked out of the lineup for five weeks. This time, he's on track to be back following the two-game absence. 

That's part of controlling what he can control. As a rookie, he pushed too hard, too early, suffering a setback. That was a mistake he's been able to avoid this time. 

"Just listening to your body," Golladay said. "It's still a lot of football left. Me missing a couple of games to try to be back hopefully for Week 3. That's better than me missing six games. 

"When you're a rookie, you still feel like you got stuff to prove," he said. "Me being, this is my fourth year — I kind of know-how the hammy works just a little bit just (with) getting hurt my rookie year."

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That said, he acknowledged his hamstring still wasn't fully healed. 

"Wouldn't say it's 100 percent," he said. "I really wouldn't even put a percentage on it, I just know I'm not, you know, 100 percent. Like I said, I'm going to do everything I can. Hopefully, I'll show enough that I can be out there (on Sunday). 

In addition to the hamstring, the other lingering issue with Golladay has been his contract. After the Lions locked up left tackle Taylor Decker with a multi-year extension earlier this month, there was a reasonable expectation Golladay would be next. 

Whether the hamstring injury threw a wrench into those negotiations is unclear, but while he's waited four top receivers have completed extensions in the past three weeks — Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. 

While different types of receivers, Golladay and Allen compare favorably from a production standpoint. The Chargers committed $80 million over four years to their No. 1 receiving option, with a little more than half guaranteed. 

During training camp, Golladay was optimistic he'd get a new deal sooner than later, but general manager Bob Quinn has rarely negotiated extensions after the season has started, particularly big-money deals. 

"I'm gonna let those guys, the organization and my agent, handle it,' Golladay said. "If these guys want me here, then I'm pretty sure they'll figure out a way to keep me here. 

"Everything will pretty much work itself out," Golladay said. "Talk to my family, talk to my agent and we'll figure out what's the best situation for me. "