Claiborne making a list, checking it twice

Detroit Lions' Linebacker Chris Claiborne is enjoying the best season of his four-year NFL career but it remains a matter of speculation whether he will be back with the Lions next season. Claiborne will become an unrestricted free-agent in February.

Lions' Linebacker Chris Claiborne is enjoying the best season of his four-year NFL career but it remains a matter of speculation whether he will be back with the Lions next season.

Claiborne is in the final year of his contract and, although his production has improved in his first full season at middle linebacker, he is not a dominating player and the Lions have made no early moves to re-sign him.

Claiborne said Sunday, after the Lions' 36-15 loss at Atlanta, he would like to stay in Detroit but he has at times this season seemed both disappointed and disgusted with the direction the team is headed.

"I don't know,'' he said. "They've got to see if they want to pay and they might not want to pay. That's what it gets down to.''

Claiborne, a former first-round draft pick from USC, is obviously preparing for the possibility of looking for a new NFL home as an unrestricted free agent.

"I've been writing a checklist of things I'm going to look at in the offseason, with any team,'' he said. "Whoever fills those boxes is most likely going to be the place I go.

"Quarterback, coach's contract, defensive coordinator, system. Those are four really important things. You want to play under the same guy, you want to play in the same system and the only way to get really good at a position is to play in that system and learn the little things, knowing what everybody's doing and where everybody fits.''


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