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Why Is Detroit Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia on Crutches?

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Nothing is going to keep Matt Patricia off the field! The head coach of the Detroit Lions stuck by his team on the field, crutches and all, at the team's season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. 

On Thursday, Sept. 5, the NFL coach told the media (via the Detroit Free Press) that he was going to try and “get out there,” but wasn’t sure what it would feel like “to stand for three hours.” He added: “I think you know me, I’m going to try and get out in front as fast as I can, but I got to be safe, too.”

The head coach continued, “I don’t want to do something that’s going to hurt me or another player or somebody else if I can’t move or get out of the way. I don’t want to do that. I got to be smart." According to Detroit Free Press, during preseason games, Matt coached from “a perch behind a table of Gatorade buckets while standing on top of soft plyometric boxes for support.” So, why is Matt on crutches?

Why is Matt Patricia on crutches?

During the offseason, Matt underwent surgery on his Achilles tendon, explaining to the media the first day of training camp: “There are really very few times during the year where you kind of have an opportunity to get things done.”

He continued, "Pretty much been dealing with a little bit of a lower-leg issue, a tendon muscle thing, for a while, so I kind of had that cleaned up.” Ahead of the Lions’ preseason debut, the second-year head coach updated the media on his current health

“It really is day-by-day for me. I think I’ve had like four different casts on,” he said. “This is a walking boot, but I’m still kind of in the same mode right now. This is just so that the trainers and the physical therapy can get in and just start moving my foot around and stuff like that.”

With Matt’s leg still in a boot, he is required by the NFL to stand further back from the sideline than usual, to not compromise his safety. Well, because his communication with officials is a bit limited, a controversial timeout was called by the Lions… and it did not work in their favor.  

Though quarterback Matthew Stafford converted on a crucial third-down, a timeout was called by Lions’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. This canceled out the first-down the team got, which Stafford could not repeat on the next play. This critical moment in the game eventually led to Arizona being able to come down the field and score. The two teams ended the game in a tie.

So, why was the offensive coordinator of the Lions able to call a timeout?

NFL rules state only the head coach or a player on the field is allowed to signal for a timeout. Because the head coach is forced to stand a few feet back from the sideline, Matt is relying on the offensive coordinator to communicate with the officials. Ultimately, the head coach took responsibility for the call, telling the media (via the Detroit Free Press): “I’m calling the timeouts.”

The Detroit Lions will face the Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. ET. 

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