Has Lions DT Nick Fairley been demoted to the second team?

Has Nick Fairley been relegated to the second team defense? (USATSI)
Has Nick Fairley been relegated to the second team defense? (USATSI)

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When Detroit declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Nick Fairley's rookie contract this offseason, the team hoped he could use that slight as motivation to have a better 2014 season.

So far, it doesn't seem to be working.

As noted by the Detroit News, it appeared that Fairley, who started all 15 games he played last season, was practicing with the Lions second-team defense on Monday.

Fairley's reaction to questions afterward about the move to the second team as C.J. Mosley and Jason Jones took over his place among the starters?

Wrote the newspaper: "Nick Fairley silently and perplexedly raised his hands when asked why he was playing with the second-team defense ..."

Coach Jim Caldwell didn't have much to say about it either.

“Who said he was playing on the twos?” Caldwell said. “Was there a depth chart that said anything about it? ...  What you see more so than anything else is we decide how we rep guys. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re one, they’re two, they’re three, whatever it might be. It just depends on the situation. Don’t read a whole lot into it.”

Fair enough, but it's still enough to make you wonder, particularly since Fairley didn't have a great performance in the team's first preseason game. You also have to wonder if the team is unhappy with Fairley's perpetual weight problem.

“One of the things about him, he’s a big man,” Caldwell said. “He’s got some strength and ability. He can probably carry more weight than most people at his size because of his strength, and he’s working to get to a comfortable weight, I think, and I think he’s on his way.”

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