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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Jeff Risdon

Lions pull the plug on veteran reclamation projects Jarrad Davis and Devin Funchess

The first reports of the final wave of Detroit Lions roster cuts haven’t really featured any surprises. Two names on the early list, LB Jarrad Davis and TE Devin Funchess, do raise the eyebrows a bit.

Davis and Funchess were each veterans hoping to resuscitate their fledgling NFL careers in a city where they both have some history. Alas, the reclamation projects just were not meant to be.

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While the moves are not official until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, multiple sources have reported and verified that both Davis and Funchess are no longer Lions.

It’s tough to see the Davis experiment end in failure. A perennial fan pinata in his first Lions stint (2017-2020), Davis willingly returned to Detroit determined to win over those same fans. He was an easy guy to root for, especially for those who got to see him behind the scenes. The Lions parted ways with a very good man and excellent teammate who unfortunately just wasn’t a good enough football player to help them at a position where most fans see the team’s biggest need.

Funchess had a real chance to pull off the conversion from wide receiver to tight end in Detroit, his hometown. He played well in the preseason opener, catching four passes and a touchdown. Unfortunately, Funchess could not prove the chronic durability issues–he’s been healthy for just one game since the start of the 2019 season–were behind him. He left the second practice of training camp and missed several days, also missing the second preseason game against the Colts. Availability is one ability that Funchess simply doesn’t have, unfortunately.

The Lions smartly realized that neither veteran reclamation project was going to work. Davis and Funchess were given chances to be this year’s Charles Harris, a former first-round flop who emerged as a quality starter in Detroit in 2021. It didn’t work for them or the team.

There’s no harm in trying these sorts of veteran ventures. The harm comes when sentimentality trumps football and it bumps out a player who offers more in both the short-term and long-term for the team. To the Lions credit, they didn’t let that happen.

Davis, who has battled injury issues of his own throughout his NFL career, could find another team interested in giving him one last shot. Moving him to full-time rush OLB, something the Lions toyed with this summer, just might work. In time. For Funchess, this could be the end of the NFL road. The reality of not being one of the four best TEs on a Lions team that had one established player at the position three months ago is not a positive sign.


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