Report: Lions tap Ryan Donahue as punter

Barring a last-minute change this weekend, the Chicago Bears won't be the only NFC North team with a new punter in 2011.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press is reporting the Detroit Lions will release veteran Nick Harris and install rookie Ryan Donahue in that role. Harris, 33, has been the Lions' punter since 2003.

Donahue was one of the nation's top college punters last season at Iowa, and the Lions' pursuit of him this spring indicated they planned a serious challenge to Harris this summer. Both punters finished the preseason with identical 34.4-yard net averages, but you could tell the Lions were serious about Donahue when he began holding for place-kicker Jason Hanson in preseason games.

As you recall, the Bears decided against re-signing veteran punter Brad Maynard and instead acquired former Jacksonville Jaguars punter Adam Podlesh.