In order for the Detroit Lions to sign first-round pick Eric Ebron, they needed to free up cap space, and that’s exactly what they did.

The Lions announced Friday they have terminated the contract of veteran cornerback Chris Houston, who last March re-signed Houston to a five-year deal.

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“Chris Houston underwent a significant medical procedure this spring,” the organization stated in a press release. “Both parties felt that the best course of action at this time is to release Chris and allow him to rehabilitate his injury away from the Club.  The Lions appreciate Chris’ contributions over the years and wish him the best in his recovery.”

The deal Houston signed last year was worth $25 million over five years. Unlike several other players dealing with injuries, Houston had not been present for the team’s voluntary workouts or the team’s mandatory minicamp following offseason surgery on a toe.

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell seemed a bit prickly when asked earlier in the week whether Houston – an excused absence for minicamp – would be behind his teammates in learning the new defense. Caldwell also seemed to foreshadow Houston’s departure.

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“When he gets back or whatever happens,” Caldwell said then, “we’ll work it out at that time.”