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Just-signed RB meets Lions in huddle, scores TD

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DETROIT, Mich. — “Crazy” is the best way that Detroit Lions running back Craig Reynolds can describe the period between early-morning Thursday and Friday night.

Within that time frame, he went from being a free agent, to getting a tryout, to suiting up for an NFL preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, during which he scored his first career touchdown.

Without D’Andre Swift in action, Reynolds — another Pennsylvania native — led the Lions in rushing with 49 yards on six carries in a 16-15 loss at Ford Field on Friday.

“I introduced myself in the huddle at one point. They were like, ‘Yo, what’s your name?'” Reynolds said. “A couple coaches introduced themselves to me on the sideline during the game. It’s definitely crazy, but they’ve just made it real easy. I’ve been comfortable being here.”

The last-minute signee dove in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown with 7:36 remaining in the fourth quarter, a moment he won’t forget.

“It meant a lot, you know. First career touchdown. And I got a call from my older brother today and he just told me to let it rip,” Reynolds said. “Friday the 13th — 13 was my number in college and high school — it’s like, ‘Today’s going to be — just do something special.’ I went out there and you know, all week the coaches said let it rip. Don’t think, just play. … And I just said, ‘You know, let’s go ham.'”

Among those Reynolds, 25, met on the sideline Friday night was running backs coach and former Philadelphia Eagles player and assistant coach Duce Staley, a man he rubbed shoulders with on several occasions as a kid.

“I don’t know if I’ve met (Reynolds) yet; I think he got here last night,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said with a laugh. “I know that sounds horrible, but he got here last night and I think we saw him today; I probably met him before the game. He did a great job. It was fun to watch.”

Prior to arriving in Detroit, Reynolds missed a flight, plus experienced two flight delays due to heavy rain in Philadelphia, before landing in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a connecting flight around 12 a.m. He then got up around 6 a.m. Thursday before flying to Detroit, where he went through a tryout with Lions general manager Brad Holmes and was signed later that day.

Even in a loss, Lions coach Dan Campbell felt Reynolds’ output was “impressive,” especially under those conditions.

“We’ll see where this goes, but he’s got that look in his eye and he did when he walked in yesterday,” Campbell said. “You can tell it’s like, ‘Hey man, I’m here to compete and I don’t know enough of this playbook, but you can put me in there.'”

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