Kearse signed a one-year, $2.75 million deal with Detroit in March after spending the previous four seasons with the Vikings.
He was arrested last October in Minneapolis for driving while impaired and illegal possession of a firearm. The NFL mandates a three-game suspension for driving under the influence of alcohol.
On a Zoom call with reporters Friday afternoon, Matt Patricia said the Lions were prepared for Kearse's suspension when they signed him.
"Obviously vetted the situation. We talked with Jayron and felt comfortable with him and the situation," he said. "Obviously have gotten to know him a lot more since free agency and just felt comfortable with all of it. We knew it was something that was coming.
"Really right now, like always, it’s a league matter and I’ll just leave it at that. But it is something we were aware of during free agency. "
According to the arrest report, Kearse was pulled over at 4 in the morning after driving on a closed portion of a highway. He later recorded a blood alcohol concentration of .10, above the legal limit of .08.
Kearse will be eligible to return ahead of the Lions’ Week 4 game against the Saints. He’ll miss the club’s first three games against Chicago, Green Bay and Arizona.
In 15 games last year for the Vikings, Kearse tallied one pick, six passes defended and 28 tackles. He also played a big role on special teams throughout his time in Minnesota, which will be a big part of his role in Detroit.
He joins Tracy Walker, Will Harris and fellow free-agent acquisition Duron Harmon as the top safeties in the Lions' secondary.