You might recall that Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew has taken a decidedly neutral position on the future of safety Louis Delmas, a pending free agent and a presumably core player whose health status has cast doubt over contract negotiations. Mayhew said at the NFL scouting combine that "our doctors are still evaluating his situation," which to me seemed ominous given that more than six weeks had passed since Delmas limped into the offseason.
If healthy, the Lions no doubt want Delmas back in 2013, and it appears they'll take another stab at finding out over the next few days. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Delmas is on his way to Detroit for a physical.
NFL teams don't routinely perform physicals on their own players prior to free agency; they already have the necessary background on file. In this case, however, the Lions either want to check the condition of the knee that caused Delmas to miss 13 games over the past two seasons -- or Delmas wants another chance to prove he is healthy before the free-agent market opens for negotiations with all teams Saturday.
There are ways to bring back Delmas without exposing the team to financial loss if he can't overcome the knee injury. A short-term, incentive-laden contract is one option. But first, the Lions need to know what -- if anything -- has changed since the end of the season. Otherwise, they'll need to seek a replacement on the free agent market. This story is only beginning.