Lions drop former University of Hawaii star and second-round pick LB Jahlani Tavai


The Detroit Lions gave up former University of Hawaii star linebacker and 2019 second-round pick Jahlani Tavai today, as NFL teams reduced their roster to 53 players.

Tavai was one of a handful of Hawaii players released or discharged today.

Other players cut today were former UH receivers Rico Bussey by the Steelers, Keith Kirkwood by the Panthers and Marcus Kemp by the Chiefs, former UH defensive backs Trayvon Henderson by the Bengals and Rojersterman Farris by the Packers, and former Hawaii high school defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko (Farrington) by the Chargers and Hercule Mataafa (Lahainaluna) by the Vikings.

Tavai started six of 15 games in 2019 and 10 of 16 games in 2020. In his rookie year, the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder made 58 tackles (37 solo), with five tackles for a loss and two bags. In 2020, he made 58 tackles (32 solo), with two tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.

Under new coach Dan Campbell, the Lions have attempted to reform Tavai’s body type and bring out some speed, according to Tavai lost more than 20 pounds to get where the Lions wanted him to be, the website reported, but he still couldn’t seem to adjust to a defense that required more speed and instinct on the pitch.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Lions attempted to trade Tavai but couldn’t find any takers.

Other big names who were released on Tuesday included:

>> Former NFL MVP Cam Newton the Patriots let go to pave the way for rookie Mac Jones, Alabama’s 15th pick.

>> Quick wide receiver John Brown, who was signed by the Raiders this offseason on a one-year contract with $ 3.24 million guaranteed.

>> Wide receiver Travis Fulgham, who had an excellent five-game streak for the Eagles last season before disappearing from offense. Philadelphia also eliminated veteran running back Jordan Howard. Several teams have made exchanges to reach the squad limit:

>> The Chiefs traded offensive lineman Yasir Durant to the Patriots for a seventh-round pick in 2022.

>> The Eagles awarded offensive lineman Matt Pryor and a 2022 seventh-round pick to the Colts for a sixth round.

>> The Lions got wide receiver Trinity Benson and a 2023 sixth-round pick from Denver for fifth- and seventh-round picks in 2022.

>> The Niners traded linebacker Jonas Griffith to Denver for a sixth-round pick. The deal also includes a seventh round trade.

>> The Jets sent tight end Chris Herndon and a 2002 sixth-round pick to the Vikings for a fourth round.

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