Lions ask for scheduling cushion for renovations

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The Lions are trying to build a little wiggle room into their schedule this year, in case renovations to Ford Field take longer than expected.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions president Rod Wood said the team asked to start the preseason on the road, to give themselves time to finish the work.

Ford Field hosted a supercross event last week, and work is starting on upgrading the suite areas and the video boards.

“I understand we’ve got temporary flooring on the field and we’ll start putting cranes up to take the video boards down,” Wood said. “The new video boards are being constructed off-site. Those are supposed to be in in June and July and fine-tuned so that they’re ready by the end of July. And everything is going to be delivered, furniture, TVs and everything for the new spaces early August.

“So hopefully we’re done by first week of August, and we have our first preseason game hopefully the second week. I’ve asked for a one-week reprieve, to be on the road the first week, so that we have a little bit of time to deal with any things that are running behind schedule. But the plan is to be ready for the first preseason game.”

And in what is believed to be the first schedule leak of the year, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss reports the Patriots will play at Detroit in Week Three of the preseason. If the Lions are worried about construction schedules, the easiest thing might be to have them host their other preseason game the following week.

That’s what the Dolphins did last year during renovations to Hard Rock Stadium, playing their third preseason game in Orlando and their fourth at home.

Preseason schedules could be released as early as this week, while regular season schedules are expected later this month.