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Nate Caminata - LionsFans.com
Five years ago, Bryant Westbrook stood at the Detroit Lions briefing room podium, sporting a nifty Lions ball cap, holding a replica jersey, and shaking hands with then-head coach Bobby Ross.
A 5th overall draft selection, the University of Texas standout was considered an elite college cornerback that would dramatically enhance the Lions' defensive secondary.
How times have changed.
On Friday, Westbrook's much maligned career with the Lions came to an abrupt end. The 27 year old inked a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, returning to the home of his alma matter.
In 5 seasons with Detroit, Westbrook's only complete year was in 1998, when he tallied 3 interceptions and 74 tackles. An injury sidelined Westbrook in 1999, limiting him to just 8 starts, and his most productive season a year later was also cut short by a career threatening achilles' tendon tear.
With a Pro Bowl berth on the horizon in 2000, Westbrook had totaled 49 tackles and an NFC leading 6 interceptions before going down in Week 13. He didn't return until the middle of the 2001 season.
Westbrook's many blunders, however, ultimately grew on the patience of both fans and management. A physical cornerback, Westbrook made up for a lack of speed by grabbing opposing wide receivers in stride -- making a habit of frustrating defensive pass interference penalties. Off the field, a DUI charge in the 2000 off-season didn't increase his popularity among fans either.
The Lions had no plans of re-signing Westbrook, who spent Friday working out for the Cowboys and undergoing a physical.
"I thank the Lord that I'm healthy again," Westbrook told the Fort-Worth Star Telegram. "Me healthy means I can play anywhere."