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DETROIT, Mich. – Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah broke a left Achilles tendon and is out of season.
Okudah slowly limped off the track before being driven to the locker room, where the Lions followed big for the San Francisco 49ers early in the fourth quarter at Ford Field Sunday.
The overall No. 3 election in 2020 was then ruled out from a foot injury, but an MRI scan on Monday confirmed the severity of it.
Okudah took to Twitter Monday morning.
My faith in God’s plan is unshakable … Marathon continues. 🙏🏾
– Jeff Okudah (@jeffokudah) September 13, 2021
Lions coach Dan Campbell said he texted Okudah after Sunday’s 41-33 loss and plans to meet with him on Monday.
As a former player who dealt with injuries, Campbell may relate to the rehabilitation process, but he will urge him not to mess with it. His message will be simple: Get ready for next season.
“What are you going to do to prepare for next year? It’s going to be my whole conversation with him that your only focus should be on 2022 and ‘How do I get back from this?'” Campbell said. “We’ll get this surgery done, and then it’s all going to be about rehab again, because there’s no other way to treat it. There’s no other way to react to it. It’s the only way to get better.”
Okudah was credited with four tackles and a pass defense, but was discovered on the sideline and got an audible from defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant that challenged him to play better in the first game of his second season.
“I would say for Jeff, it was an up-and-down game,” Campbell said Sunday. “He blinks at a couple of plays you like, ‘Wow. OK, there he is.’ And then the next thing you know, you know, something just happens – I do not want to make excuses, but at the same time he’s in year 2. He made some young mistakes, what he did. “
The injury is a major blow to Detroit’s secondary as Okudah was on his way out of a strong training camp. In the offseason, he reinvented himself and developed a close bond with Pleasant and the new regime, which sought to get the best out of him.
Okudah’s rookie season was also shortened as he appeared in nine games (starting six) before undergoing a season-ending groin surgery.
“I’ve been through a lot of negative things, and something about me is that I really do not regret any of it because it’s led me to where I am right now,” Okudah told ESPN last week. “So I really appreciated that every time I fell, I’ve been able to get up again.”
For Detroit, it is now a next-man-up situation. There is a good chance that rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu will fill the position, but Bobby Price and Jerry Jacobs will also fight for reps.
Lions general manager Brad Holmes is also soon looking to add another to help the secondary, not only for purposes in the game, but also for training preparation and with an overall depth.
“The guys who are still here are the guys we like and the only way they will get better is if they play,” Campbell said.
Okudah was not the only Lions player injured on Sunday. Campbell said wide receiver Tyrell Williams has entered the NFL concussion record after taking a hard blow in the second half. His status for week 2 in Green Bay is still unclear.