The Lions’ annual mock game took a grim turn today when Eric Ebron went down with an apparent lower right leg injury and had to be carted off the field.
He was blocking for Ameer Abdullah on the play before ending up in a heap on the Ford Field turf. He appeared to be in a considerable amount of pain as team doctors came to his aid, clutching the back of his right ankle and grimacing in anguish.
Though specifics of the injury aren’t clear at the moment, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that it was localized in the area of the Achilles tendon.
For what it’s worth, Ebron struck an optimistic tone on Twitter, suggesting he and quarterback Matthew Stafford are due for big things in the future.
With Ebron out, the Lions’ tight-end corps would be comprised of veterans Matthew Mulligan and Orson Charles and rookies Cole Wick and Adam Fuehne.
Mulligan, playing for his eighth team in ten NFL seasons, said it was crushing to watch Ebron go down.
“It’s devastating,” he said. “Any time you see one of your guys go down – especially one of the guys you’re so close with in the same room – it’s awful. And you feel for him because you know how much work he put in because it’s not just now, it’s not just practice, it’s all year round. So to have injuries come up, it’s a terrible situation.”
According to Charles, the sight of Ebron being carted off the field seriously dampened the mood on the sideline.
“Ebron is a great guy, somebody to pick his brain and stuff like that. So my heart goes out to him. I’m definitely going to keep him in my prayers and I’ll definitely go up there and check up on him,” Charles said. “As a group we all have to step up and try to fill that void.”
ESPN’s Michael Rothstein captured a photo of Ebron, with his head bowed, being driven off the field.
As ominous as the news is for the Lions, it has to be all the more devastating for Ebron. The third-year tight end had impressed in the early stages of training camp and seemed to be enamored of his role in Jim Bob Cooter’s offense.
Recently, he spoke about being poised for a breakout season.
“This is a make-it-or-break-it year, this is year three in the National Football League. Most people don’t make it past this year, so we all gotta come out and do something that’s productive for our team and show our work,” he said, referring to his fellow 2014 draftees.
Ebron was drafted tenth overall in 2014. He has yet to live up to the hype, totaling just six touchdowns through two seasons and frustrating fans with his inconsistency.
Still, after making significant strides in 2015, there was a growing sense of optimism around Ebron heading into this season. For now, at least, that will have to be put on hold.