Lions Bring Back Formerly Suspended Safety

The Detroit Lions are returning both of their starting safeties from the end of the 2023 season. But they could use some additional safety depth. To satisfy that need, the Lions will turn to veteran safety C.J. Moore.

Lions sign C.J. Moore after his year-long gambling suspension – Macomb Daily

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on May 7 that the Lions signed Moore to a 1-year contract. Moore was previously with the Lions but missed the entire 2023 season because of a gambling suspension.

“Free agent safety C.j. Moore is re-signing with the Lions on a 1-year deal, source said,” Rapoport tweeted. “After serving a gambling suspension that took away his 2023, Moore is back in Detroit.”

Moore joined the Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He played four seasons with Detroit prior to the Lions releasing him on April 21, 2023. The team released Moore the same day the NFL suspended him indefinitely for violating the league’s gambling policy.

Moore’s violations included betting on NFL games.

From 2019-22, Moore posted 48 combined tackles and 2 quarterback hits. He also had 2 pass defenses, 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery.

Moore mostly played on special teams for the Lions during those four seasons. He also lined up for 344 defensive snaps.

Lions Sign C.J. Moore 1 Year After Releasing Him

Detroit Lions re-signing C.J. Moore after suspension reinstatement - Pride Of Detroit

It wasn’t clear Moore would ever play in the NFL again let alone with the Lions when Detroit released him in April 2023.

Moore was one of three players the Lions either released or waived during the 2023 offseason because of gambling violations. The other two were wide receivers Quintez Cephus and Stanley Berryhill.

The NFL suspended Moore and Cephus indefinitely while Berryhill received a six-game suspension. The league also suspended Detroit wide receiver Jameson Williams, but he remained with the Lions and returned last season after sitting four games.

On April 18, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reported the NFL reinstated Moore and four other players who received indefinite suspension because of gambling violations. His former teammate, Cephus, already signed with the Buffalo Bills on April 28.

Moore has started just 1 game in his NFL career. That was during Week 15 of the 2021 season.

During 2021, Moore set career bests with 22 combined tackles, including 13 solos. He also had his 1 interception that season while playing a career-high 158 defensive snaps.

In 2022, Moore registered 12 combined tackles, 1 quarterback hit and 1 pass defense. He played 106 defensive snaps and 224 snaps on special teams.

Lions Safety Depth After Moore Signing

With Moore, the Lions are adding some much needed safety depth.

This offseason, Detroit departed ways with veterans Tracy WalkerWill Harris and C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Kerby Joseph and Ifeatu Melifonwu will return, which means both of the team’s starting safeties from the end of the regular season will be back. But without those three veterans, safety depth was a concern for Detroit heading into the summer.

Detroit Lions elevate Brandon Joseph, Dan Skipper for Falcons game - Pride Of Detroit

Prior to signing Moore, Brandon Joseph was the only other safety on the Lions roster excluding the undrafted free agents. But Brandon Joseph didn’t play at all on defense and lined up for just 14 special teams snaps in 2023.

Re-signing Moore gives the Lions a familiar defensive contributor who should significantly contribute on special teams.

Moore has played at least 224 special teams snaps in all four of his NFL seasons. In 2021 and 2022, he also played more than 100 snaps on defense.

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