Former top-10 pick Eric Ebron is aiming for a third-year breakout following a less-than-stellar first two seasons in the NFL. Those plans might have taken a major hit Saturday.
The tight end was carted off the field after being unable to apply pressure on his right leg, per multiple reporters at Lions practice. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said on Inside Training Camp Live that Ebron might have suffered an Achilles tendon injury. Rapoport added, however, that Ebron has indicated to two teammates that he's OK, so there's a chance the injury could be minor.
Ebron racked up 537 receiving yards and five scores on 47 catches in 14 games last season. Ebron set a career high with 89 yards in Joe Lombardi's final game as Lions offensive coordinator last year before Lombardi was replaced midseason by the immortal Jim Bob Cooter.
With fellow former first-round tight end Brandon Pettigrew already on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from a torn ACL, this could be a major blow for the security-blanket role for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Additionally, another tight end, Tim Wright, suffered a season-ending injury at organized team activities.
Add in the fact that Stafford is experiencing his first campaign without Calvin Johnson, and it might be time to crank up Kenny Loggins in Detroit, because the Lions might be entering the danger zone.
"That would just be a huge loss if they are losing him at this point," NFL Media's Mike Garafolo told ITC Live on Saturday. "I talked with the guys yesterday about replacing Calvin Johnson, and they said it's not about one person stepping in and being Calvin Johnson cause there is no other Calvin Johnson, you can't just go grab another one. It was all about, in Jim Bob Cooter's offense, more of a spread the ball type of deal.
"They needed Ebron to be that big target to work the middle of the field. He made a significant jump from his rookie season to his second season in production, and they were hoping he was going to make another big leap this coming season. So they can only hold their breath on this one and hope it's not serious."