Just one year after signing him to a five-year, $25 million contract, the Lions have released cornerback Chris Houston, the team announced Friday. Houston started 54 games at cornerback the past four seasons after being acquired from the Atlanta Falcons in 2010 for two draft picks, a sixth-rounder in 2010 and a seventh-rounder in 2011. Houston underwent toe surgery last month and was absent from Lions headquarters for the duration of organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, which concluded Thursday. “Chris Houston underwent a significant medical procedure this spring,” the Lions said in a statement. “Both parties felt that the best course of action at this time is to release Chris and allow him to rehabilitate his injury away from the club.” Houston’s camp, meanwhile, remains confident that he will play in the NFL in 2014 despite the recent surgery. “We anticipate Chris making a full recovery and playing football again this season,” Jonathan Feinsod, Houston’s agent, said. Houston could return to the Lions at some point, but the possibility has not yet been discussed. The termination of Houston’s contract was how the Lions managed to open enough salary cap space for first-round tight end Eric Ebron’s $12.25 million contract, which he signed earlier Friday. Because the Lions waited until after June 1 to release Houston, the unpaid portion of his remaining bonus will be favorably prorated for the team for this year's salary cap. With $5.2 million remaining on his bonus, $1.3 million will count against the cap in 2014 and $3.9 will be on the books in 2015.