The Detroit Lions fielded a handful of offers for Eric Ebron at the trade deadline last season, and the team apparently is taking phone calls on its polarizing tight end again.
ESPN reported Tuesday that Ebron's name "surfaced in trade discussions" at the NFL combine last week, and that the Lions "were listening" to offers.
The Lions first considered dealing Ebron in October, when a handful of teams reached out about his availability, but they ultimately decided against moving a player who finished third on the team in receptions.
Ebron, who got off to a rocky start last year and was booed repeatedly by hometown fans, told at least one teammate at the time that he thought he would be traded.
"If the front office thinks that (I need a fresh start) then we’ll see,” Ebron said at the time. “If not, I’m going to come here, I’m going to strap my Lions helmet on and I’m going to go to work next week just like everybody else and that’s what I plan on doing."
Jul 31, 2017; Allen Park, MI, USA; Lions tight end Eric Ebron walks off the field at training camp. (Photo: Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)
The 10th pick of the 2014 draft, Ebron has shown flashes of brilliance during his time in Detroit, but he has also had problems with drops and never has endeared himself to fans who can't forget that he was drafted ahead of Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Donald.
Ebron, who turns 25 next month, is scheduled to make $8.25 million next season on a base salary that becomes fully guaranteed when the new league year opens Wednesday.
Asked what his intentions were with Ebron and if he planned to keep him during the combine last week, Lions general manager Bob Quinn said, "Yeah, he’s here."
Ebron caught a career-high 61 passes for 711 yards in 2016. Last year, he played all 16 games for the first time in his NFL career, with nine starts, and caught 53 passes for 574 yards and four touchdowns.
After news of his potential trade leaked Wednesday on Twitter, Ebron tweeted an emoji with zipped lips. Then, in response to a fan who wrote she hoped Ebron didn't get traded, Ebron replied, "No matter what happens (you) will still always have a place in me and my family hearts! You been real since Day 1."
The Lions have three other tight ends currently under contract for 2018 — Michael Roberts, Hakeem Valles and Brandon Barnes — and hope to re-sign pending free agent Darren Fells.
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