ALLEN PARK - It may not garner the headlines of the team's quarterback situation, but the Detroit Lions made what could be a solid signing yesterday when they inked veteran guard Rex Tucker to a three-year contract.
Tucker, 29, had his best year in 2001 when he started all 16 games and garnered pro bowl consideration when the Bears made their playoff run under former Lions head coach Dick Jauron.
But the 6-foot-5, 320, the former Texas A&M star has been plagued by injury problems his entire career.
He got his first shot at starting with Chicago in his third season, 2001 and responded well as part of an offensive line that gave up the fewest sacks in the NFL, but he suffered a recurring calf strain that cost him part of the team's playoff game against Philadelphia.
That was the start of a series of three major injuries that cost him almost two years of his career in rehabilitation.
In 2002, he started the first five games before suffering a season-ending fractured fibula and dislocated ankle. He was placed on injured reserve list.
He could only watch on in disbelief in 2003 when he tore a right ankle tendon in the final preseason game.
The Bears kept him on the active roster, but signed former Buffalo all-pro free agent guard Ruben Brown who took over his starting left guard position. He returned to the team in 2005 in relief of veteran right guard Mike Gandy who suffered a hamstring injury.
The Bears finally cut the cord and Tucker who signed on with St. Louis, but the injury bug struck again as he missed five games with a calf injury and then a flu-like virus robbed him of two more and St. Louis decided to move in a different direction.
All totaled, Tucker has missed 41 games over the last three seasons. Detroit is betting a talented player who can't stay healthy can finally pull it all together and reclaim the form he showed in 2001.
He is the brother of St. Louis tackle Ryan Tucker.