JACKSONVILLE – The sight was emotional as it was welcome.
Telvin Smith, the Jaguars' weak-side linebacker and emotional leader, returned to the team's EverBank Field facility Friday – five days after the death of his brother. He participated in a walkthrough and team meetings as the team prepared for Sunday's game in Detroit.
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said he believes Smith will play Sunday.
"I think it's 'Arrow's Up,''' Bradley said Friday as the Jaguars (2-7) continued preparing to play the NFC North-leading Lions (5-4) at Ford Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
"I'm not saying 100 percent because it's an emotional time tomorrow. I can't tell you how he's going to come out of that. How can anybody come out of that and predict that? Knowing Telvin and what he's all about, anticipate him playing. That's why he's probable."
Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny on Friday talked of the importance of Smith's return – on and off the field.
"It's great to have him back," Posluszny said. "We're not the same team when he's not there. He's that powerful of a positive presence for us."
Smith, the Jaguars' leading tackler, missed practice Wednesday and Thursday and has been away from the team since the team's loss to the Houston Texans at EverBank Field Sunday. His brother, Brian Moore, died in a shooting in Valdosta, Georgia, Sunday.
Smith also celebrated the birth of a son Tuesday.
Smith will attend Moore's funeral Saturday, then plans to fly to Detroit and join the team later that day.
"He's probable, so we anticipate him playing," Bradley said. "But I do know [Saturday] is going to be very emotional and you want to make sure a player has the right mindset for playing in a game. …
"The hope is that he can compartmentalize it and go out there and play, but I'm not willing to say, 'Oh yeah, 100 percent,' because there's a lot of things that can happen tomorrow mentally.' "
Posluszny expressed no doubt about Smith's ability to play at a high level Sunday.
"I think he's going to play a great football game," Posluszny said. "It was a short week of work for him, but with his skills and his abilities and how well he's glued in to the game he can quickly adapt to the game plan and what's in front of him.
"He's so mentally strong that he can handle anything. Telvin is going to play like he can."
Also on Friday, defensive end Chris Smith (eye) was ruled out for a second consecutive game, and tight end Neal Sterling (foot), wide receiver Bryan Walters (concussion) and linebacker Dan Skuta (back) were listed as questionable for Detroit. Offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee) was removed from the injury report.
Rookie Myles Jack, who would start at weak-side linebacker if Smith doesn't play, will start at Otto for a seventh consecutive week if Smith does play. He has been rotating snaps with Skuta at Otto in recent weeks.
"This is for a classic reason, right?" Bradley said of Jack. "He knows [middle], he knows [weak-side], he knows Otto and it puts us in a situation like this where we have some flexibility now. That's a good thing. We went through some tough times early with him cross-training with him, but the benefit is times like this."