Two Lions depart for "greener" pastures


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Nate Caminata -

Familiar names associated with the Detroit Lions continue to depart.

On Friday, tight end David Sloan and wide receiver Johnnie Morton made their announcements official. They both will be sporting a non-honolulu blue uniform next season for the first time in their respective pro careers.

Morton, a former first round draft choice out of USC, ended a sloppy divorce with Detroit after signing a 7-year, $25.7 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. The deal also included a $5.5 million signing bonus.

Morton was released last week in what Lions' management deamed a salary cap-related maneuver. However, Morton's comments immediately thereafter contradicted the team's official statement. He was the Lions' most consistent offensive threat the past three seasons.

Sloan, meanwhile, headed to NFC rival New Orleans, where he received a four-year, $7.05 million deal including a $1.2 million signing bonus. Despite an injury-riddled career, Sloan has remained a staple on the team since he was a 3rd round draft choice by Detroit in 1995

Sloan caught 37 passes for Detroit in 2001, including a team-leading 7 touchdowns.

The loss of Sloan, who the Lions weren't completely sold on, will likely push the team into stronger negotiations with free-agent TE Ken Dilger (Colts). Head coach Marty Mornhinweg said earlier in the week that the team might also make further acquisitions at the wide receiver position.

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