Furrey looks cash in on big season

Detroit Lions' wide receiver Mike Furrey already has had the season of a lifetime, but, as unlikely as it might seem, even to him, it could get even better in the last few days of the year. More news and notes inside.

Wide receiver Mike Furrey already has had the season of a lifetime, but, as unlikely as it might seem, even to him, it could get even better in the last few days of the year.

Furrey, who didn't even play on the offensive side of the ball at St. Louis last year, is third in the NFC with 87 receptions (two behind conference leader Donald Driver of Green Bay and one behind Steven Jackson of St. Louis).

He needs only another 16 receiving yards in the Lions' season finale Sunday at Dallas to hit the 1,000-yard mark that is generally considered the milestone for NFL receivers.

"It's huge," Furrey said. "It's something you always think about when you're a little kid. Especially being a receiver, that's a big plateau to hit. To do it at the highest level, it obviously would be pretty cool."

And then there's the matter of being rewarded for having the kind of season the Lions could never have anticipated in their wildest dreams after signing Furrey to a one-year contract last spring.

Furrey said he and the Lions are in the process of negotiating a contract extension that could be in place before the game Sunday against the Cowboys.

"I know it's in talks right now," Furrey said. "I know they're going to try to get something wrapped up here hopefully by the end of this week."

Furrey has developed under offensive coordinator Mike Martz into what the Lions feel is a solid No. 2 receiver and a complementary receiver to Roy Williams, who has fewer catches (76) but more yards (1,206).

"He's everything that I'm looking for," coach Rod Marinelli said. "He's a highly productive guy. He does a lot of really good things for us. I just love his attitude and what he brings to our team. It's special."

Despite the possibility of a 1,000-yard season and a new contract, Furrey said he will have only one thing on his mind Sunday -- a win in the final game of the season.

"If we can go down there and get a win, and pick up where we left off last week offensively, eliminate those penalties and the turnovers we didn't have to do ...," Furrey said, wishfully. "Coming off last week, the way we played against Chicago, that's the way we should be playing every week. The

New England game, the Chicago game, the Atlanta game, those games where we're controlling everything we're doing."

Although the Lions lost both the Chicago and New England games, they moved the ball relatively well and actually led going into the fourth quarter. They beat Atlanta 30-14 for one of their two wins of the season.

PLAYER NOTES

  • OG Ross Verba has been listed as out for the Lions' season finale Sunday at Dallas. It will be the 10th game he has missed with injuries this season. This time he is out with a groin injury.
  • TE Casey FitzSimmons will not play in the Lions' final game of the season Sunday at Dallas, the result of a shoulder separation he suffered in the 26-21 loss to Chicago last Sunday. With FitzSimmons out and Marcus Pollard nursing a hamstring injury, Dan Campbell is the only relatively healthy tight end available.
  • WR Eddie Drummond was limited in what he was able to do in practice Thursday because of an ankle injury and was listed as questionable for the Lions' game Sunday at Dallas. If Drummond is unable to play, the Lions probably would take advantage of the opportunity to get another look at rookie Devale Ellis on punt returns and kickoff returns, where he impressed last Sunday against Chicago.
  • LB Teddy Lehman is listed as questionable for the Lions' season finale Sunday at Dallas. He worked in individual drills and with the scout team Thursday, but it appears unlikely he will play against the Cowboys because of a hamstring injury. It would be the 12th game he has missed this season because of injuries.
  • LT Jeff Backus (foot) was taken off the Lions' injury list Thursday and is expected to make his 96th consecutive start. He has started every game since being taken with the No. 18 pick in the first round of the 2001 draft.


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