Lions’ Bentley put on season-ending IR

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — One of the hot topics during the Detroit Lions’ training camp last August was the quick development of rookie cornerback Bill Bentley.

Bentley went on to win a starting job by the opening game, but his season is now over, just another setback for the Lions’ revolving-door secondary.

The club announced Thursday that Bentley had been placed on injured reserve and will undergo shoulder surgery next week.

Bentley started having problems with the shoulder as far back as the team’s offseason workout program, coach Jim Schwartz said. It was aggravated much worse during the third preseason game and then again during the fifth regular-season game. Bentley hadn’t played the last two weeks.

“It was just one after another,” Schwartz said. “It just made sense to finally get that thing operated on, get it right. We’ve had some other corners (including Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith) that have had that done. The key is give them enough time for a good rehab. They’ve all bounced back well from them.

“It could come out (of socket) this week or six months from now. It needed to be fixed. He really tried to battle through it. He had a hard time raising his hands. It didn’t make him look real good as a player a couple times, some of the pass-interference stuff. He didn’t have confidence going up and extending his hands.”

Bentley, a third-round draft pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette, started three of the first four games. He missed the second week because of a concussion.

In a total of four games, he made 15 combined tackles and no interceptions.

Bentley declined to be interviewed when approached Thursday in the Lions’ locker room.
“He felt like he could still play,” general manager Martin Mayhew said. “He really wanted to play.

“There was concern on our part, and his part, about making it worse, about his ability to stay on the field if he did get into a game and about how he would perform with a harness on and some of the limitations he has as far as his range of motion.

“We felt the best thing to do was to put him on injured reserve and get him healthy for next year.”

The Lions now have four cornerbacks — Houston, Jonte Green, Jacob Lacey and Smith — on their 53-man roster.

Another cornerback, Drayton Florence, has returned to practice and is eligible to be activated in two weeks. Florence has been out since the second game when he suffered a broken forearm that required surgery.

Florence was put on a short-term IR list, which meant he can return this season. NFL teams, however, receive only one short-term injury exception each year so that wasn’t an option in Bentley’s case.


Receiver Calvin Johnson missed practice for the second straight day because of a knee injury that has hampered him at least the last couple weeks.

Johnson has caught a total of six passes for 80 yards in the last two games.

This is the second straight week that he has missed at least two practices. He is taking the time off in hopes of feeling better by game day.

“That’s the main thing, just being ready for Sunday,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to be out there to help these guys out.

“We’re having progress on it. Just trying to get it ready, as ready as it can be. There ain’t nobody 100 percent nowadays.”


The Lions announced that Tuesday’s trade for Jacksonville receiver/return specialist Mike Thomas became official after he passed his physical with the club.

Thomas practiced Thursday for the first time with the Lions, who gave up a fifth-round pick in 2014 in the deal.

Mayhew described Thomas as “very versatile.”

“I’ve seen him line up in the backfield, in the slot, outside,” Mayhew said. “He can do a lot of different things for us.”


Starting linebacker DeAndre Levy, who missed the last game because of a hamstring injury, returned to practice.

… To fill Bentley’s spot, the Lions re-signed safety Don Carey, who was released during training camp after suffering a hamstring injury.

… Mayhew said he expects to give an update on running back Jahvid Best’s status “soon, at the appropriate time.” Best hasn’t played in more than a year because of concussion issues.