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Ronnie Brown gives Lions a different option

You were asking throughout our SportsNation chat Tuesday afternoon if the Detroit Lions would acquire a running back before the NFL's trade deadline. Many of you wanted them to pursue Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. As it turned out, the Lions had their eye on veteran Ronnie Brown, who has been wasting away on the Philadelphia Eagles' bench this season.

I'm not sure if we can immediately evaluate the impact of what could be a minor trade. The Lions gave up next to nothing to finalize the deal: A seventh-round draft pick and veteran Jerome Harrison, whom they were hardly using themselves. But Brown has gotten one fewer carry (13) this season than Harrison (14), and at 29 -- and after knee and foot injuries earlier in his career -- it's not clear how much he has left.

Said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.: "He struggles to make people miss now and I don't see much of a burst/acceleration."

At the same time, Brown offers some promising potential. He has always been an above-average receiver, a critical attribute in the Lions' passing offense, and at 230 pounds is a much better power option than starter Jahvid Best. As a rookie with the Miami Dolphins in 2005, his offensive coordinator was current Lions play-caller Scott Linehan. And if the Lions have any plans to use a version of the Wildcat offense, Brown was the key component in the original scheme the Dolphins introduced in 2008.

The biggest question this trade raises is one even the Lions might not be ready to answer: Did the Lions acquire Brown simply for depth at a relatively thin position? Or are they concerned about the long-term status of Best, who is dealing with his second concussion in three months?

Concussions are difficult to project and the Lions might not have a handle on Best's recovery timetable right away. If he can't play this week against the Atlanta Falcons, I would expect Maurice Morris to start in his place. If that's the case, the Lions should know better than anyone if they should trust Harrison as his backup. Obviously, they wanted a different option.