Lions sign former Jaguars Pro Bowler Montell Owens
Owens spent all of his entire NFL career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he established himself as a special teams standout and was named a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2010, 2011) The 29-year-old also holds a franchise record with 118 career tackles on special teams and is tied for most special team tackles in a single season with 30.
The Lions could really use Owens on the special teams after problems covering kicks cost them dearly early on last season. Owens would immediately provide the Lions with an upgrade on kick and punt coverage, while helping keep the opposing offenses under a tight check on a more consistent basis. The 29-year-old Owens has a chance to replace wide receiver Kassim Osgood in Detroit who was signed by the Lions last year to lead its special teams unit.
Owen’s presence on the running back depth chart could also be of value to the Lions, giving them another experienced back behind starter Reggie Bush. Last season Owens saw increased action at running back as he appeared in 13 games while making four starts in place of Maurice Jones-Drew. Owens rushed for 209 yards and one touchdown on 42 carries, while also recording eight receptions for 113 yards last season.
Additionally, Mikel Leshoure, the top running back behind Reggie Bush on the depth chart, has experienced injury issues during his NFL career. While Owens will serve as insurance at the spot, he isn’t expected to beat out Leshoure for the job.
Earlier this month, Owens also visited the Buffalo Bills after being released by the Jaguars on May 16. But he ended up signing with the Lions.
“(He's) a veteran player that has been in this league and has seven years experience,” new Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone said of Owens. “(He) adds depth at the running back position and [can] really be a core special teams (player).”
Over the past seven seasons, Owens played in 104 career games for the Jaguars, amassing 56 career carries for 292 yards and three touchdowns along with 12 receptions for 132 yards.