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Lions release RB Kerryon Johnson

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson (33) runs the ball against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Detroit Lions are releasing running back Kerryon Johnson, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke Wednesday night on condition of anonymity because the Lions had not announced the move.

Detroit drafted the former Auburn standout in the second round in 2018. Johnson became expendable after the team drafted D’Andre Swift No. 35 overall in 2020, signed free agent running back Jamaal Williams in March and drafted Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson last week.

Johnson ran for 1,225 yards and eight touchdowns over three seasons. He also has 61 career receptions for 527 yards and three scores.

Last year, he had 181 yards rushing and two scores on 52 carries. and had 19 receptions for 187 yards receiving and a touchdown.

The Lions also added a player in free agency, signing tight end Darren Fells. The move gives the team a veteran at the position it can put on the field with Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson.

The 35-year-old Fells has 123 career catches with 1,483 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns. The previous two years in Houston, he had a combined 55 catches for 653 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Fells has started 76 games — including 13 with the Lions in 2017 — and played in 102 games with Arizona, Detroit, Cleveland and the Texans. He was a rebounding standout at UC Irvine and played basketball in Argentina, Mexico, Belgium, Finland and France before playing in the NFL.

NFL sets offseason schedule, still plans mandatory minicamps

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has set its schedule for offseason workouts and still plans to have mandatory in-person minicamps, something the players’ union has opposed.

The league released the schedule through mid-June, with all 32 teams listing required-attendance minicamps next month. NFLPA President JC Tretter, a center for the Browns, has been vocal in his opposition to any programs requiring players to be on hand, stressing a preference for virtual work similar to 2020.

In a release Thursday, the NFL said: “Voluntary offseason workout programs are intended to provide training, teaching and physical conditioning for players.” All of those sessions were held remotely last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The union wants to replicate that not just for 2021 but beyond.

The offseason programs include three phases. The first began April 19 and concludes May 14. It was extended from its customary two-week period. Activities are limited to strength and conditioning, virtual meetings, and physical rehab.

In the second phase (May 17-21), which has been shortened from three weeks to one, on-field walk-throughs can include individual player instruction and drills that don’t include contact.

Phase three (May 24-June 18) remains its customary four weeks and could be the source of conflict between the league and union. This phase allows in-person meetings and classroom instruction, subject to COVID-19 testing, tracking, facility access and other protocols. Ten days of organized team activities (OTAs) allow no live contact, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Most minicamps are scheduled toward the end of this phase.

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