Travis Swanson, other Lions linemen to wear knee braces in 2015
Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson is taking a precautionary measure this year and wearing knee braces, according to ESPN's Michael Rothstein. He didn't wear them as a rookie last year, after wearing them throughout his college career at Arkansas.
"I wore them all in college and then came here and I knew, I had seen the guys didn't wear them so I was like, ‘OK, I'm not going to wear them,'" Swanson said, via ESPN. "Yadda, yadda, yadda, we had some things happen so I'm questioning, is there an option? Can we wear knee braces? I wanted to."
Right tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who's still recovering from a torn ACL, will also wear knee braces in 2015, according to ESPN.
"With what I had, I don't think it would have stopped what happened," Waddle said, per ESPN. "But it's just, kind of, why not. Keep that thing protected as much as you can. Want to make injury as preventable as possible."
First-round rookie Laken Tomlinson sports the knee-supporting braces; left tackle Riley Reiff has worn them in camp, too. It's a growing trend along Detroit's offensive linemen, thanks to some encouragement from positional coach Jeremiah Washburn.
"The NFL is interesting in that way, but yeah, we have encouraged them to wear them," Washburn told ESPN. "It's not a mandate, but we've certainly encouraged them. We like to keep our guys in the lineup more, so sure, we're looking for every way we can."
Keeping the entire O-line intact and healthy will be key to the Lions' offensive consistency. If wearing knee braces preserves the starting lineup for an extra game or two, the additional precaution will be well worth it.