Lions sign free agent corner Dre' Bly

The Detroit Lions signed free agent cornerback Dre Bly late last night and will introduce him at a press conference at 10:00am today. Bly becomes the second St. Louis Rams player to jump ship and sign with the Detroit Lions in the last two years.

(ALLEN PARK)--The Detroit Lions got a little bit smaller, a little bit faster and a little bit more talented when they signed cornerback Dre Bly away from the St. Louis Rams late last night.

Bly, 25, got a five-year contract worth $24.5 million. The contract includes a signing bonus of $6.5 million and base salaries of $2 million (for 2003), $4 million (2004), $4 million (2005), $3.8 million (2007) and $4.2 million (2008).

Bly said the opportunity to play for new Lions coach Steve Mariucci and Az-Zahir Hakim - his former teammate in St. Louis made a difference.

"I saw Coach Mariucci coming here and I knew what kind of coach he was," said Bly. "He turned things around in San Francisco a few years ago when they were in the hole. He got them to the playoffs and basically rebuilt the team. He didn't have the ability to bring in free agents but still, he rebuilt that team and got them to the playoffs. I just looked at it as a perfect opportunity for me to help this team."

"Coach Mariucci - guys want to come in and play for him. We have a lot of young talent. It was just a great opportunity."

Regarding Hakim's influence, Bly stated, "when I was with Az in St. Louis, he was great friend. He told me that when he left St. Louis, since they had such wonderful facilities that he didn't want to take a step down."

"He visited here and the facilities were just as good and that's basically what sealed it for him in addition to realizing what they're trying to do here. He realized that they are committed to winning. He was just trying to let me know what was going on here and that we had a positive future ahead of us."

At just 5' 9", 190 from North Carolina, Bly is known as one of the NFL's most explosive players. At North Carolina, Bly was a three-time All-American and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award, given to the nation's top defensive back, as a freshman.

He played as a nickle back his first three years after being drafted in the second round by the Rams, but became a starter near the end of his third season and responded by intercepting six passes in just four starts.

In 2002 he was a full time starter for the Rams and nabbed two interceptions. Bly was introduced to the media at a 10:00AM EST press conference at the Lions Allen Park headquarters.

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