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Detroit Lions will tender DE George Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS -- While the Detroit Lions have not made many decisions on free agents, general manager Martin Mayhew said Friday morning that the team will tender restricted free agent George Johnson.

Mayhew did not say, though, what level of tender the team was planning on using on the defensive end.

Johnson signed with Detroit as a free agent during spring workouts last season and was initially a long shot to make the club. Johnson ended up making the Lions and having a career year.

Playing alongside Ndamukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Jones and Nick Fairley, Johnson had 26 tackles, six sacks and a fumble recovery. Undrafted out of Rutgers in 2010, Johnson had seven tackles and no sacks prior to this season.

He spent 2010, 2011 and part of 2012 with Tampa Bay before going to Minnesota for the rest of 2012 and part of the 2013 season. When the Vikings cut Johnson, he almost quit football. Had he not make the Lions in 2014, he was going to give up football because his family was hurting for money.

Instead, the 27-year-old ended up becoming a key part of Detroit’s defensive line rotation that led the NFL in run defense.

Mayhew said the team will not tender linebacker Josh Bynes and that he didn’t think the franchise would tender quarterback Kellen Moore, either. Mayhew did say he would like to have Moore back and that he has had discussions with Moore’s agent.

He also confirmed the team will bring back receiver/returner Jeremy Ross, an exclusive rights free agent.