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ChatWrap: Circling back on Randy Phillips

Let's finally get around to addressing a question we left open during Tuesday's SportsNation chat. (Man, that was Tuesday? Crazy week.)

I promised William I would come back with a fuller answer once I found it myself. First, the relevant pair of exchanges on Detroit Lions safety Randy Phillips:

William J Lepetomane (Rock Ridge)

Randy Phillips looks to be a keeper for the Lions. It doesn't look like he was at the combine in April. Any idea how he stayed under the radar? Also, any further word on Ryan Stamper joining their depleting LB corp?

Kevin Seifert (2:01 PM)

I believe there is an assistant on the Lions' staff who coached Phillips in college. As for Stamper, no word...

William J Lepetomane (Rock Ridge)

I understand how Phillips got to Detroit, I don't understand why he wasn't at the combine and apparently unnoticed by anyone else. Any ideas?

Kevin Seifert (2:11 PM)

Oh, sorry. I know there is a story there but I don't have it on quick recall. Apologies. But I will put it on my list this week and do a blog post on it. Thanks.

First, let that be a lesson for me reading questions too fast. Sometimes the chat pace gets to me. Second, as it turns out, all we had to do is catch up on our reading. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News wrote a fantastic profile last week of Phillips, who signed Aug. 4 as an undrafted rookie and was almost immediately inserted into the starting lineup. He could make his third preseason start Saturday against Cleveland.

The short version of the story: Phillips tore the labrum and rotator cuff in the same shoulder early last season while playing at Miami. He decided to delay surgery until January, allowing him to play out his final season but rendering him unable to participate in postseason All-Star games or the combine.

Lions secondary coach Tim Walton had recruited him to play at Miami, and so Detroit had an obvious connection. Essentially, the Lions waited until Phillips was fully recovered from surgery and signed him.

Will Phillips actually be a starter when the regular season begins? That's unclear at this point. Louis Delmas is scheduled to make his debut against the Browns, but fellow starter C.C. Brown has a cast on his right hand to protect an injury. Phillips sure seems to have a chance. Regardless of what that would say about the Lions' depth, it would be an amazing story.