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Tracy Walker was a vital piece of the Detroit Lions' secondary when they set out to rebuild it this offseason. 

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The Lions signed Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley for cornerback positions and only considered C.J. Gardner-Johnson for the slot defender role after his free-agent market options dwindled. 

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Walker, who was recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, appeared set to lead the Lions' secondary. However, he was sidelined when rookie Brian Branch earned a starting spot, moving Gardner-Johnson to safety.

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Now, with Gardner-Johnson on injured reserve due to a torn pectoral muscle, Walker is back in the spotlight.

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Coach Dan Campbell hinted at the possibility of Gardner-Johnson returning later in the season, despite the typical three to four-month recovery timeline for such injuries. 

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Tracy Walker, a Lions fixture for the past five seasons, is one of the few remnants from the previous regime. 

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After his best season in 2021, Walker suffered an Achilles injury in September 2022. 

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He made his comeback, playing nine defensive snaps in the Lions' recent game against the Seattle Seahawks. 

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Walker's return is expected to bolster the Lions' secondary, offering a different dimension compared to Gardner-Johnson's playing style. 

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Despite Gardner-Johnson's absence, the Lions' secondary has shown improvement, and they are prepared to weather any challenges that come their way.