(ALLEN PARK)--Chicago Bear linebacker Rosevelt Colvin visited with the Lions yesterday, but according to sources familiar with the situation, the highly prized free agent linebacker had informed the team that he would take all of his scheduled visits before making a decision.
Colvin met with Lions head coach Steve Mariucci and his staff before leaving for a scheduled visit with the Arizona Cardinals. In an interesting development, the New York Giants yesterday say they have backed off their pursuit of Colvin after discovering his surgically-repaired shoulder would keep him off the playing field until at least July something that had not previously come to light.
Apparently the Lions will not wait on Colvin. They are expected to host Indianapolis outside linebacker Mike Peterson later in the week and also had a visit from Tampa Bay strongside linebacker Alshermond Singleton. While not the pass rushing threat that Colvin is, Singleton is a solid strong side backer.
Singleton's agent, Mason Ashe said Singleton was very happy with the response he got from the Lions and the three other teams wishing to talk to him. "It's a heartwarming experience for Al and it's something I don't think he's ever experienced before," Ashe said. "Teams started calling right away on Friday and it's a sign of a guy whose reputation precedes him. I thought I would have to go out and sell Al, but it's a very pleasant surprise that I don't have to do that."
Ashe said Singleton, like most Buc players, prefers to stay in Tampa but....
"He has enjoyed his stay there and is loyal to the team and is open to a return to
Tampa Bay," Ashe said. "But as of (Monday night), there is no legitimate offer
on the table. We have no choice but to explore our options."
If the Lions want to up the ante to include a pro-bowl player, all signs indicate that Tampa Bay's Shelton Quarles will be hitting the market soon. Quarles had cancelled all his free agent visits yesterday, but then contract talks hit a snag, according to agent Jim Steiner and Quarles is ready to see what he would command on the open market.
Quarles, 6' 1", 225, wracked up 113 tackles and two interceptions last year and is capable of playing all three linebacker positions. While at 31, he is not as young as Colvin or Singleton, the six-year veteran still would likely have four good years left after coming into his own in a breakout 2002 season.
The Lions have committed to signing at least one free agent linebacker this offseason and may need a second if Chris Claiborne signs with another team. Yesterday, Claiborne visited with the St. Louis Rams and is expected to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars later in the week. He has kept the lines of discussion open with the Lions would would like to have him back at the right price.
If not, Detroit would likely have to pay more to find a reasonable replacement for Claiborne's production at the middle linebacker spot.
PAWS FOR THOUGHT:
The strength of Tampa Bay's defense has always been its linebacking play. What a coup it would be if Detroit signed away both Shelton Quarles and Al Singleton away from the Bucs. Instantly, Detroit linebacking corps would become one of the finest in the NFL.
WHAT ABOUT WIDEOUTS?
Detroit desperately needs to revamp its receiving corps, but with little to no talent Detroit might be waiting on Chicago to release talented, but injured Marcus Robinson. Robinson is still under contract to the Bears but expects to be released any day now. Ike Hilliard was re-signed by the New York Giants, Peerless Price got the franchise tag and David Boston's alleged drug problems have dried up an already small pool of talent. Miami has also expressed interest in Robinson.