Detroit Lions’ star right tackle Penei Sewell is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol, causing him to miss Saturday and Sunday’s practice sessions. This comes straight from Lions head coach Dan Campbell, who clarified that Sewell won’t return until at least Wednesday under NFL’s concussion guidelines, requiring players to be symptom-free and cleared by an independent neurologist before returning to practice.
“I know you saw Sewell yesterday, he’s in the protocol,” Campbell revealed. “So the earliest we can get him back is Wednesday, but he’s doing good. He was good yesterday, so moving right along, just trying to be safe and smart.”
Matt Nelson Steps In
In Sewell’s absence, 5th year tackle Matt Nelson has been stepping up, taking reps with the first team. Nelson, a 6-7, 315 lb. lineman from the University of Iowa, was an undrafted free agent signing by the Lions in 2019. He proved reliable in the 2022 season, playing in 11 games, allowing zero sacks, and incurring only two penalties. The year prior, Nelson had a solid performance in 13 games with 11 starts at right tackle, committing no penalties.
While nobody expects Sewell to miss much time due to the current concussion, the Lions can rest assured knowing they have a capable veteran ready to hold down the fort if needed.
Sewell’s Rising Star
Despite the current hiccup, Sewell remains a pillar of the Lions’ future. Campbell can’t seem to sing enough praises of Sewell, who has been showing substantial growth in his development.
“There’s a reason why he was the first pick we had two years ago because we wanted to build around a guy like him. He’s our foundation,” Campbell shared. “He’s one of those pillars that we talk about…he’s a man on a mission…he’s got so much ability, but he’s got the right attitude too, and that’s what makes him dangerous if you’re the opponent.”
In his second season, 22-year-old Sewell made his first Pro Bowl after allowing only two sacks and six quarterback hits in over 660 pass-block reps. Lions running backs combined for 1,880 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, with Sewell being a critical component of their success.
Despite his early accomplishments, Sewell remains unsatisfied, striving for more growth and improvement. “I want it all, man,” Sewell expressed after Friday’s practice.
When asked about his self-evaluation process and opportunities for improvement, Sewell gave a direct answer:
to be honest, its just consistently working at my technique. That’s it. Everyone knows the great ones in this league…to be one of those, I gotta come into work with a purpose, to lock into those techniques.
Sewell’s relentless drive to improve coupled with his undeniable talent makes him a force on the field, and undoubtedly a concern for the Lions’ opponents.
In the words of Dan Campbell: “he’s lean, he’s mean and I’m glad he’s ours.”
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK