Camp fires Day 7: The Devale Ellis edition
Every day during training camp, Lions beat writer Dave Birkett takes you inside practice at Allen Park with notes, quotes and observations of interest.
Scary moment in today's afternoon practice when Mike Furrey collided with Devale Ellis in a goal-line punt return drill. Ellis, who missed last season with a knee injury, lay on the ground for a short period while trainers attended to him. He said he felt a little whiplash and the doctors did right to make sure he didn't have a serious neck injury. A few plays later, Ellis was back running under a punt, and in the next team period he caught a touchdown pass.
I've written it before but it bears repeating that Ellis is having a great camp. He should win the fifth receiver job (ahead of Brandon Middleton and fifth-round pick Kenny Moore), and as one of the fastest players on the team could be a weapon in the return game. The Lions' only concern with Ellis is his durability, but Wednesday's performance should help alleviate that fear. "I just wanted to show everybody I can play and I'm durable," Ellis said of his rush to return to the field after the Furrey collision. "I'm only 170 pounds, but I can take a hit. Mike's a former safety, 200 pounds, and we didn't have pads on and I'm fine. That's why I wanted to come back and take that punt to let them know that I can take shot, keep playing."
Ellis had a drop in Wednesday's morning practice, but those have been few and far between the past seven days. In fact, I think he's got a long future ahead of him as a Lion. He's got good hands, can go the distance on returns, and is quick in his cuts in the Shaun McDonald mold. McDonald's contract is up after this season, so Ellis could be the future at slot receiver.
McDonald, incidentally, remains on the PUP list while he rehabs from offseason knee surgery. He's also shown up for practice a couple times with his right thumb in a wrap. It's highly doubtful he'll be back for the preseason opener next week against the Giants.
One last Ellis note, after a week of double sessions he hasn't had his knee swell up once. No draining, no nothing. He's ready to contribute this year.