ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Believers in the Madden Curse are going to say, “Here we go again.”
Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson’s left index finger was wrapped up and he sat out Monday morning’s training-camp practice.
“My finger’s going to be all right,” Johnson said. “It will be all right.”
Johnson provided no details about the injury.
“It’s football,” he said when asked how it happened.
Johnson, who became the league’s highest-paid receiver during the offseason, appears on the cover of this season’s Madden video game. Most players in recent years who have been on the cover soon were hit by an injury or some other setback.
“I’m a God-fearing man,” Johnson said. “Curses don’t bother me.”
Coach Jim Schwartz said Johnson’s absence from practice was not directly related to the finger injury.
“Not really a scheduled day, but an expected day off for him,” Schwartz said. “He wasn’t shut down because of his finger. It was just general (training) camp legs and soreness. He needed a day or two. Calvin doesn’t have a regulator.”
Starting defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, meanwhile, remains out of practice because of a knee injury.
It’s unclear when he might return.
“He’s not day-to-day, he’s probably a little more week-to-week,” Schwartz said of Vanden Bosch. “He twisted his knee last week. We’re just giving him at least a week or two to let it all settle down.
“You know, Kyle. Kyle can’t temper himself. So we have to sort of temper him a little bit. It just makes sense to shut him down right now.” FAIRLEY INCONSISTENT
Some are expecting a breakout season for Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who was never completely healthy last season after suffering a foot injury during training camp.
There’s no question about Fairley’s potential to become an impact player in the league. His two offseason arrests had some people thinking he might be even more motivated to prove himself this year.
One problem: Fairley’s inconsistent tendencies have continued this training camp.
“He’s made some very good plays,” Schwartz said. “He’s also been working on consistency just in the run game and pass-rush game. This is an important training camp for him. He missed it all last year.
“It’s important for him not to just flash ability — we all know he has that — but to play consistent football for us.”
So far, the Lions haven’t seen as much of the consistency as they’d like. EXTRA SECURITY
Considering the club’s seven offseason arrests, it was a little alarming to walk up to the Lions’ practice facility Monday morning and see a big blue bus parked in front with “DETROIT POLICE DEPARTMENT” on the side.
No worries. It wasn’t a paddy wagon sent to pick up the team’s troublemakers.
Just the opposite.
Some Detroit police officers were the guests of the Lions and got to watch practice and meet some of the players.
“When I walked out here and I saw the police, I said, ‘We better go over there and shake their hands,'” offensive guard Rob Sims said. “They’re good guys to have on your side. They’re heroes.”