The Lions re-signed defensive tackle Khyri Thornton ahead of restricted free agency this offseason, but he won’t be part of the lineup for the first game of the 2017 season.
The NFL announced on Tuesday that Thornton has been suspended for the first six games of the year. The suspension comes as a result of a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.
Thornton played 13 games and made six starts for the Lions last season and had one sack and a forced fumble. He entered the league as a 2014 third-round pick of the Packers, but missed his rookie year with an injury and got waived ahead of his second season.
With Akeem Spence, Ego Ferguson, Bruce Gaston, Jordan Hill and 2017 sixth-rounder Jeremiah Ledbetter on the roster, the Lions have other defensive tackle options behind Haloti Ngata and A’Shawn Robinson to sort through this summer. If enough of them show well, Thornton could find himself looking for a new home once his suspension runs its course.