Detroit Lions’ Teez Tabor feels good in return to practice, faces crucial week

Carlos Monarrez
Detroit Free Press
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Nearly a month since he last practiced, Detroit Lions cornerback Teez Tabor returned to the field Monday and began one of the most important weeks of his young career.

Tabor last practiced with the Lions on Aug. 1, when he left practice with an undisclosed leg injury. He was having a promising offseason and training camp, taking plenty of first-team reps.

“It felt good just being able to get back out there with the guys, more than anything,” Tabor said Monday. “Felt real good to be out there with my teammates.”

Tabor, 23, faces an uncertain future as the Lions prepare for their fourth and final preseason game Thursday on the road against the Cleveland Browns. In two seasons since he was selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Florida, Tabor has struggled in the Lions’ defense.

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Lions defensive back Teez Tabor defends against receiver Marvin Jones Jr. during practice during training camp on Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Allen Park.

Tabor is on the roster bubble, which means a final week of good practices and a good performance against the Browns could be crucial to his future with the Lions.

“It means a lot,” Tabor said of this week. “Every day means a lot to me. I try to be come in the building early, stay in the building late, try to do everything right.

“Every day I get to come in here is a blessing to me being a kid from the inner city. So I just look forward to every day.”

Lions coach Matt Patricia said it’s not uncommon for a player’s performance in final preseason game to help him make the 53-man roster. NFL rosters have to be established by 4 p.m. Saturday.

Teez Tabor during a preseason game Aug. 17, 2018, in Detroit.

“There are a lot of guys, actually,” Patricia said Monday. “I was just thinking about this as you go back through and review some notes even just the last year. Even a guy like Dee Virgin who wasn’t even with our team who was out with Houston who played. Andre Chachere was another guy who we saw out on film in the fourth preseason game who played a lot. …

“There are probably some stories of some guys in the past too, who have gone out and done really well in these types of games and have solidified themselves a spot on the roster and a role. It is a critical week from that standpoint, absolutely.”

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During his time away from practice, Tabor rehabilitated and went through practice mentally while keeping up his studies in film sessions. Although he has missed a significant portion of training camp, Tabor wouldn’t place more emphasis on the physical side of his preparation.

“Mental reps and physical reps, they both play a vital role in your success as a football player,” he said. “So you need both equally.”

Tabor has upside as a young cornerback with size. He could make the 53-man roster, but he also could be a candidate for the practice squad or the injured-reserve list. But he wasn’t ready to discuss future scenarios.

“We’ll see about that next week,” he said. “Right now I’m just trying to put my best foot forward.”

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Contact Carlos Monarrez at or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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