Detroit Lions: Josh Hill retirement opens door for Darren Fells return

Detroit Lions tight end Darren Fells (87) (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit Lions tight end Darren Fells (87) (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Hiring a former NFL tight end who was a tight ends coach in the league for several years as the new head coach for the Detroit Lions should mean that position is in well-experienced hands. In fact, Lions head coach Dan Campbell brought over two of his former tight ends in Josh Hill and Alize Mack from his previous gig with the New Orleans Saints to help him in his new venture in Detroit.

Now, one of those veterans has decided to hang up his cleats for good despite never setting foot on the field for Detroit. According to reports, Josh Hill has decided to retire after eight seasons as a professional, all of which spent in New Orleans prior to his release by the Saints back in March.

The Lions signed the 30-year old Hill to a one-year deal just over a week after he was cut by New Orleans. And he figured to take the place of Jesse James on the depth chart, who himself was released by Detroit only a couple of days prior to Hill’s signing.

Coming off his first Pro Bowl season, 2019 first-round selection T.J. Hockenson sits atop the depth chart in Detroit and figures to be the main target for his new quarterback, Jared Goff. That due in large part to the majority of the wide receiver corps not returning from last season.

Behind Hockenson on the Lions’ current tight end depth chart are Mack and Hunter Thedford. Detroit did recently sign Notre Dame tight end Brock Wright and Ohio State tight end Jake Hausmann as undrafted free agents. And tight end Hunter Bryant was recently released and then reverted back to the team’s reserve/non-football injury list after clearing waivers.

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Josh Hill’s sudden departure has opened the door for a possible reunion with veteran tight end Darren Fells. The 35-year old is reportedly visiting with the Lions Tuesday night about a potential return. Fells was a 14-game starter for the Houston Texans last season recording 21 receptions for 312 yards and four touchdowns. He played for Detroit back in 2017.

Update: On Wednesday, it was reported Fells will sign with the Lions.