The Detroit Lions are working with a revamped offensive line this offseason after losing left tackle Jeff Backus to retirement, right tackle Gosder Cherilus to the Indianapolis Colts and right guard Stephen Peterman to the New York Jets.
The trio combined for 25 seasons on the Lions. Now short on experience but longer on athleticism, the Lions have agreed to terms on a contract with veteran guard Leroy Harris, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported Monday.
Harris started 39 games over the past three seasons with the Tennessee Titans, but he's coming off surgery to repair a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament. Although Harris held his own in 2011, he was a liability in the running game in 2010 and 2012.
While the left side of the Lions' offensive line is set with 2012 first-round draft pick Riley Reiff at tackle and veteran Rob Sims at guard, the right side is up in the air. The Lions ostensibly are bringing in Harris as battle-tested competition for third-round pick Larry Warford at right guard while Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard duke it out at right tackle.
The Lions' offensive line quietly has been one of the NFL's best pass-blocking units the past couple of years. Quarterback Matthew Stafford can't count on the same consistent pass protection with three new starters this coming season.