(ALLEN PARK)--There's no letup in the flurry of activity surrounding the Detroit Lions. First, the Lions announced yesterday that they had re-signed Jared DeVries, a former third-round draft pick from Iowa to a three-year contract.
The 6-foot-4, 269-pound DeVries had 10 tackles and one sack in eight games
last season. He made 55 tackles in his first three years in Detroit, which
drafted him out of Iowa in the third round of the 1999 draft.
While the Lions didn't host any free agents yesterday, that was no indication of a slowing of activity. In fact, Lions head coach Steve Mariucci and a contingent from the coaching staff was in Coral Gables, FL yesterday to attend the University of Miami "pro day" workouts.
The Hurricanes have several top prospects that will be eligible for the NFL draft including headliners Jerome McDougle, brother of the Lions Stockar McDougle, running back Willis McGahee, wide receiver Andre Johnson, quarterback Ken Dorsey and defensive lineman William Joseph among others.
Detroit appears to be moving toward "phase three" of their free agent game plan after visiting with free agent linebackers including Chicago's Rosevelt Colvin and Tampa Bay's Alshermond Singleton. Reports have Detroit also visiting with Indianapolis linebacker Mike Peterson as early as today but sometime before the week is done.
Colvin dismissed rumors that he has already agreed in principle with the Detroit Lions but he completed his free agent visits without receiving an offer from any other team. Peterson visited yesterday with the Cincinnati Bengals, but sources say he has yet to receive a solid offer despite his status as one of the top outside linebackers in the game.
Meanwhile, outside linebacker Clint Kriewaldt signed a three-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kriewaldt did not appear to be in the Lions plans despite being a spot starter and a solid special teams contributor. The three year veteran from Wisconsin-Stevens Point is expected to fill that same role with the Steelers.
Phase three of Detroit free agent plan would move them into upgrading the wide receiver corps of the team. Lions president Matt Millen said on the team's official website that he received good news on the condition of Az-Zahir Hakim who suffered a season ending hip injury. At the time, it was feared that Hakim's injury was of a similar severity of that suffered by former Oakland Raiders running back Bo Jackson. That injury ended both his football and baseball career with the New York Yankees.
However, Millen said Hakim should be back in time for July's training camp sessions. Millen indicated Detroit is doing preliminary work on free agent wide receivers. "There are people we are looking at and you have to look at regardless of whether (Hakim) is 100 percent healthy or not," Millen said to Detroit Lions.com. "You still want to be looking at some of those receivers out there and see who comes clean."
One of the receivers he will be eyeing is the Bears' Marcus Robinson, who showed big play ability prior to suffering a series of injuries. Robinson is expected to be released by the Bears to avoid paying a roster bonus, but so far, Chicago is holding Robinson off the market. Detroit has former Tampa Bay wideout Jacquez Green and holdover Bill Schroeder as the corps of its wide receiver stable. Most experts expect Detroit to draft Michigan State big play wideout Charles Rogers with its second overall pick if Rogers is available.