ALLEN PARK — Rashean Mathis was signed by the Detroit Lions on Friday. Four days later, the defensive back is working with the first-team defense.
The longtime Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback got his first major reps with the first team on Tuesday at nickelback. He split time there with Bill Bentley, once the clear favorite to win that job.
He also has repped at corner and especially safety, providing a veteran versatility that could help him land a spot on the 53-man roster.
“We value versatility,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s a very experienced player and a very savvy player. It showed in his ability to pick things up quickly and be able to get him on the field.”
Mathis was a standout safety at Bethune-Cookman, and played the position for 10 games as a rookie with the Jaguars before an injury to another player forced him to corner.
He found a home there, playing 10 years for the Jaguars and making one Pro Bowl in 2006.