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Lions replace Malone with Graham after Hester-related flub

We don't know if Robert Malone was explicitly told he'd be fired if he punted the ball directly to Devin Hester, but we suppose some things don't need to be said.

Malone's stay with the Detroit Lions lasted just one week despite a 49-yard average on five punts in Sunday's 37-13 loss to the Bears. Hester had returns of 29, 82 (for a touchdown) and 35 yards (negated by a penalty).

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Tuesday that Malone was told to punt the ball out of bounds on Hester's second-quarter score.

"We tried to sideline that ball, but you ever play golf?" Schwartz said, according to the Detroit Free Press. "You try to hit it in the fairway, don't you? It goes in the woods. You're going to make par on the 18th hole to win a major championship and, 'How does he put it in the woods?' It's because it doesn't always go where you want. We wanted to sideline it, but that being said, our coverage wasn't very good. We got stacked up, particuarlly on the long one."

That's a swell analogy by Coach, but not one Malone would likely appreciate much after the Lions released him Tuesday. Detroit signed Ben Graham, a former Austrailian-rules football player, to take his place.

This game of punter musical chairs is in place because Ryan Donahue continues to be sidelined by a strained right quad he suffered while filling in for place kicker Jason Hanson at practice last week.

"I'm going to try to get out this week, probably Wednesday or Thursday," Donahue said. "I know we have our punt period Thursday so I want to try to test the waters a little bit Wednesday and see how it goes. But my mind was 120 percent to go on Friday, and my body's like, 'No way.' Can't will myself to play, but if I could I would."

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