ALLEN PARK -- Although he was frequently scorned by Lions teammates and even former coach Steve Mariucci, quarterback Joey Harrington has attracted considerable attention since the Lions have said they will trade him or release him.
Team president Matt Millen said he has given six teams permission to talk to Harrington. That includes Miami, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Oakland, Seattle and Dallas. Another three -- Baltimore, Denver and the New York Jets -- spoke with Millen regarding Harrington's availability also.
Not all of those teams have actually initiated a discussion with Harrington's agent, David Dunn, but Harrington touched off his job search earlier this week with visits to Miami and Cincinnati.
There are two factors at play in the Harrington situation:
First, his current contract calls for a $4 million roster bonus in June as well as annual salaries of $4.5 million in 2006 and 2007; unless he agrees to renegotiate the deal, it is unlikely any team will make a trade with the Lions. Therefore, he can veto any deal simply by refusing to renegotiate.
Second, the entire NFL knows that the Lions will have to release Harrington in June so teams can take their chances on negotiating a fresh deal with him at that time if they don't want to give up compensation in a trade.
Millen and coach Rod Marinelli have set no deadline for moving Harrington, although Marinelli admitted he would like to do something "quickly."
"That would be nice," Marinelli said. "He just kind of made his decision to move in a different direction. That's kind of how I left it. I wish him the very best. The thing I can tell you is, he's got terrific talent."