ALLEN PARK (AP) – Olandis Gary was playing in an exhibition game against the Detroit Lions less than a week ago. On Monday, he was in a Lions uniform.
The running back was traded from Buffalo to Detroit for an undisclosed draft pick over the weekend and reported to the Lions practice facility in time for Monday morning’s practice.
“Everything has been going pretty fast in the last few days,” Gary said. “It never entered my mind on Thursday that I was going to be a Lion, but that’s what the NFL is all about. You have to learn to adjust in a hurry or you will be out of the league.”
Getting Gary became a priority for Detroit when starting tailback James Stewart separated his shoulder in Thursday’s game. Within minutes, Lions president Matt Millen was talking to his Buffalo counterpart about acquiring the fifth-year back.
“We didn’t want to end up short-handed like we did at that position last year,” he said.
The Lions already were familiar with Gary, who came to town as a free agent last winter before signing with the Bills. He spent his first four seasons with Denver.
“His years with the Broncos give him a head start on learning our offense, but he’s still got a lot to do,” Lions head coach Steve Mariucci said. “He’s in good shape, so we will work him through the week before we make a decision about how much we can use him.”
Steel tough: The Pittsburgh Steelers tried to put on the appearance that Monday was like any other day of practice. Obviously, it wasn’t.
Players huddled in groups of two and three in the locker room, talking quietly, the verbal by-play that normally precedes every practice noticeably absent. There was no laughter, no cross-the-room yelling about the past weekend’s college scores. Clearly, someone was missing – someone important.
No one went near Joey Porter’s locker, often the gathering spot for the defense and the noisiest area in an almost never quiet room. The Steelers know the All-Pro linebacker and their vocal leader will play again but they don’t know when, and they are still struggling with the news that he was shot over the weekend.
“It was a tragic incident,” Pro Bowl receiver Hines Ward said. “We’re handling it as it comes and hopefully get a better chance of understanding it when Joey gets back.”
Porter was standing outside a Denver sports bar following Saturday night’s game between his alma mater, Colorado State, and rival Colorado when he was struck by a bullet that entered his left buttocks and lodged in his right thigh. Police say he was an innocent bystander during what may have been a gang-related shooting.
The injury is not career-threatening, but will sideline him for an indefinite period. Porter was released Monday from a Denver hospital and flew back to Pittsburgh to be examined by the Steelers’ doctors.
Still in the Nest: All-Pro center Barret Robbins survived the Oakland Raiders’ final cuts Sunday, keeping his roster spot despite playing behind Adam Treu and Matt Stinchcomb in the preseason.
The Raiders trimmed 15 players from their roster, but Robbins wasn’t among them. Oakland’s starting center since 1997 thought earlier in the week he would be cut.
“I had some conversations (Saturday) that pretty much led me to believe that I would be here,” Robbins said. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks, but we rode it out and had faith that whatever happened would be the right thing for us, my family and I.”
The Raiders suspended Robbins hours before the Super Bowl after he left the team for a well-publicized drinking binge. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and underwent treatment for alcoholism during the offseason.
Robbins also had surgery on his right knee, which was slow to heal. He reported to camp 30 pounds overweight, and he sat out the first four days of workouts.
He’s still working with the backups, but Robbins is sober and getting treatment for his illnesses. His knee also is nearly back to full strength.