It’s not an especially promising update, but Lions head coach Dan Campbell did have an injury update on defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike this week.
Heading into his second season, after a rookie season hampered by injury, the Detroit Lions had high hopes for defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike. But it was not to be, as he was sidelined for the entire season by a back injury. Surgery was considered a last resort to fix a disc issue that flared up during the first padded practice of training camp, and surgery happened in October.
Despite opting out of his final season at the University of Washington due to COVID, Onwuzurike landed as a late first-round pick in a few 2021 mock drafts. The Lions got him in the second round (40th overall).
Onwuzurike played through back pain much of his rookie season, but he suited up for 16 games as he had 35 total tackles with two tackles for loss, one sack and two passes defensed.
Back issues don’t just go away, and Onwuzurike’s two NFL seasons have been hampered or outright eliminated, respectively, by his.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell offers injury update on Levi Onwuzurike
Dan Campbell spoke to reporters at the league meetings last Tuesday. Via Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press, the Lions head coach had an update on Onwuzurike’s health.
"We talked to him a couple of weeks ago, he was doing good, the rehab has gone well,” “But you just don’t know. You don’t know with a back. But I mean certainly, he’s going to get an opportunity if the body will allow it.”"
The Lions’ No.1 need coming out of the notable wave of free agency is defensive tackle. Onwuzurike losing his entire second season to a back injury which required surgery is only a piece of that need puzzle. But it’s a somewhat notable piece, since a top-40 overall pick in the draft only two years ago would ideally have contributed more up to this point.
And Onwuzurike’s potential future contribution is as questionable as ever.