By: Will Burchfield
It appears the Lions are being accused, yet again, of mishandling injured players.
The wife of former Lions right tackle LaAdrian Waddle remarked on Sunday how much more comfortable she feels in New England, where Waddle now plays for the Patriots, “compared to a past experience with another team.”
Waddle has only played for the Lions and Patriots over his five-year career.
After Waddle left the Patriots’ game versus the Dolphins on Sunday with an ankle injury, his wife tweeted, “I gained so much more respect (even more than I already had) for the Patriots organization today. When my husband went down, multiple people did everything they could to get me to him in the locker room as fast as possible.
“Compared to a past experience with another team, who wouldn’t allow me anywhere near him. And I had to sit in the stands for a whole quarter wondering if he would be okay.”
The Lions are notoriously secretive when it comes to injuries. Jim Caldwell almost never updates the status of injured players other than to say, “Check the report,” and the players are conditioned to defer such questions to Caldwell.
The team’s refusal to release any information other than the bare minimum can reflect poorly on the players, as demonstrated last year with DeAndre Levy, whose toughness and desire to return was called into question by a segment of the fan base. Those fans were unaware that Levy was recovering from a torn meniscus.
(Levy later said that team doctors cleared him in March despite three outside doctors telling him his knee wasn’t fully healed. He was released shortly thereafter and filed an injury grievance against the Lions in August.)
According to Waddle’s wife, the Lions’ reticence on injured players extends to family members as well.
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Waddle played three seasons for the Lions and became one of their better offensive linemen. But he missed 14 games over that span due to a wide array of injuries, the most serious of which was a torn ACL in 2015.
The Lions released him in December of that year and the Patriots claimed him off waivers.
He has played in eight games this year for New England, starting four.