By Ashley Dunkak
The Detroit Lions took another step toward improving the offensive line with the addition of six-year veteran Leroy Harris. Harris played at both guard and center in his time with the Tennessee Titans.
The line will need all the help it can get, especially from a leadership perspective since the retirement of left tackle Jeff Backus, the loss of right tackle Gosder Cherilus to free agency and the release of right guard Stephen Peterman. The changes mean this year’s unit will look radically different than the one that allowed Matthew Stafford to throw for 4,967 yards last year, the second-highest total in the league behind New Orleans’ Drew Brees.
How quickly Harris can contribute remains to be seen. He earned a starting role in 2010 after serving as a backup for three years with the Titans, but he tore his ACL halfway through the 2012 schedule.
Though he has played his entire career in Tennessee, Harris will have at least one familiar face in Detroit – his new head coach. Harris’ time with the Titans overlapped that of the Lions’ Jim Schwartz, who served as Tennessee’s defensive coordinator from 2001 to 2008 before coming to Detroit in 2009.