Lions claim cornerback off waivers after another defensive back lands on COVID list
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions snagged cornerback Saivion Smith off waivers and added two more corners to the practice squad after placing a sixth defensive back on the COVID-19 reserve list Tuesday.
Detroit's secondary has been decimated by injuries and COVID-19 cases the past several days, starting when the team placed backup cornerback Bobby Price on the COVID-19 reserve list on Thursday.
Before last Sunday's game with the Denver Broncos, safety Tracy Walker and cornerbacks Mark Gilbert and Ifeatu Melifonwu joined Price on the list. And on Monday, it was practice squad cornerback Corey Ballentine, who had been temporarily elevated for the game to help address the team's depth issues, also heading to COVID-19 reserve.
Detroit added another COVID case on Tuesday with Nickell Robey-Coleman joining his teammates. Also a member of the practice squad, the veteran stepped in and played more than 60 snaps against the Broncos after starter Jerry Jacobs was lost to a season-ending ACL injury.
Robey-Coleman is Detroit's ninth player to land on the COVID-19 list since last Monday. Beyond the six in the secondary, running back Jamaal Williams, center Evan Brown and practice-squad linebacker Tavante Beckett remain on the list from last week.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Smith provides the Lions with some much-needed, immediate depth. Undrafted out of Alabama in 2019, he initially signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He's also spent time with the Dallas, Seattle, Denver and San Francisco.
Smith has appeared in seven games during his brief career, including a start with the Cowboys last season.
In addition to claiming Smith, the Lions also added Shakur Brown and Chris Williamson to the team's practice squad. Brown, the former Michigan State standout, had a previous stint on Detroit's practice squad this year. Williamson, a seventh-round draft pick out of Minnesota last season, appeared in five games with the Atlanta Falcons this season.
The Lions aren't the only team currently dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. More than 60 players across the league have landed on the COVID reserve list the past two days alone, after 110 players ended up on the list the first three months of the season.