By: Will Burchfield

Jim Caldwell said on Monday afternoon that the Lions had to make a decision “soon” on defensive tackle Khyri Thornton, who had been suspended for the first six games of the season.

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The Lions activated Thornton just hours later. To make room for him on the roster, they waived quarterback Brad Kaaya.

Thornton, 27, is in his second season with the Lions. In his first, he recorded 18 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in 13 games.

Detroit re-signed him to a two-year, $3.3 million deal in the offseason, but Thornton was suspended in June for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

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Jim Caldwell is a man who believes in second chances, saying of the troubled Armonty Bryant earlier this month, I can just tell you that there’s always, I think, an opportunity to help make a difference in a guy’s life. And certain guys you just have to sense that they’ve made a couple mistakes, but haven’t we all? I’m always one that believes in working with people and trying to get them to where we’d like them to be, and move from there.”

The Lions later released Bryant, who had been suspended three times in the course of a year. Thornton received a different fate, likely in part because the Lions needed depth at defensive tackle. They released Datone Jones and Caraun Reid last week, shortly after signing the duo to help compensate for the loss of Haloti Ngata.

Thornton figures to make his season debut Sunday night versus the Steelers.

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Kaaya, the Lions’ sixth-round draft pick this year, can return to the team as a member of the practice squad.