Former Lions kicker Riley Patterson finds home with another playoff-bound team

Cut by the Lions last week, Riley Patterson has quickly found a home with another playoff-bound team.

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Before Week 15 against the Denver Broncos, the Detroit Lions made an surprising move to elevate kicker Michael Badgley from the practice squad. Riley Patterson was inactive for the game, then he waived a few days later when the Lions needed to clear a roster spot for rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker.

Head coach Dan Campbell and special teams coach Dave Fipp both cited a multi-week practice battle that Badgley had simply won. Patterson had also missed an extra point in two of the three games prior to the change.

“Internally, we had those guys competing in practice and so they would each get roughly six kicks a day and we’d kick them at least twice a week, so it was 12 kicks a week,” Fipp said last week. “And over the course of six weeks, Badgley had been better, and we didn’t want to rush to make that decision right away. We felt like he deserved as fair of an opportunity as we could have given him, but it was clear at the end of the day that he was playing better.”

Patterson cleared waivers, and on Monday the Cleveland Browns signed him to their practice squad.

The Browns spent most of their Week 16 contest against the Houston Texans without a kicker after Dustin Hopkins suffered a hamstring injury during the game. With that and a short week coming before taking on the New York Jets on Thursday night, and no other kicker on their 53-man roster or practice squad, Patterson was an ideal fit.

Former Lions kicker Riley Patterson lands with Cleveland Browns

It's rare for a contending team to make a change at kicker that is not injury-forced. But the Lions did it, even in Badgley is not necessarily a substantial upgrade. Patterson was 15-for-17 on field goals over 13 games this season, but his distance limitations may have impacted strategy and those two recent missed extra points clearly stuck out in pushing the change to Badgley.

Through all of the injuries they've dealt with, the Browns are 10-5 with almost 100 percent odds to make the playoffs entering Week 17 (per ESPN analytics). So Patterson, who made a game-winning field goal for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card Round last year, has landed with another playoff team after the Lions let him go for the second time.

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