Detroit Lions clear out Brandon Pettigrew's locker, moving on from TE

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew on Nov. 26, 2015.

Brandon Pettigrew no longer has a stall in the Detroit Lions' locker room, and it's only a matter of time before the tight end has a new team altogether.

The Lions removed Pettigrew's nameplate and belongings from the stall he inhabited in the corner of the locker room in their Allen Park training facility one day after they ended his season by placing him on the nonfootball injury list.

Pettigrew, 31, did not appear in a game this year after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last December.

He opened training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list and took a pay cut before the regular season started in hopes of returning at some point this year.

Pettigrew's knee is healthy now, and Lions coach Jim Caldwell declined to say why the team used the nonfootball injury designation on one of their longest-tenured players.

The Lions are expected to release Pettigrew at some point in the near future.

"We made a decision on him," Caldwell said. "I think it’s been reported, and that’s about all we can say on the matter. It was best for us."

A first-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2009, Pettigrew had 301 catches for 2,965 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first seven seasons with the team.

He set a franchise-record for tight ends with 83 catches for 777 yards in 2011 but was used primarily as a blocker the past two years.

Last week, Pettigrew said he was eager to get back on the field with teammates, and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter talked excitedly about what Pettigrew would bring to the offense when that happened.

"Been an extremely productive NFL tight end over the years that’s taken some different roles," Cooter said. "Some years he’s caught a lot of balls. Some years he’s been really productive as more of a blocker. And whenever he gets back we would like to get some of that production going."

The Lions are carrying three tight ends on their active roster — Eric Ebron, Clay Habor and Matthew Mulligan — and have one more (Khari Lee) on the practice squad.

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Contact Dave Birkett: Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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