(ALLEN PARK)--The Detroit Lions will get their shot at signing former Green Bay Packers weakside linebacker Nate Wayne today. Wayne is scheduled to visit Motown today and his agent, Harold Lewis, says it's down to either Detroit or the Philadelphia Eagles.
"We gave our word that we would visit the Lions, and Nate gave his wife his word he wouldn't make a quick decision," Lewis said. "But I'll tell you, it was pretty hard for Nate to get on the plane. He really likes what the Eagles have there, and the way he can fit in."
But Wayne did leave the Eagles NovaCare training facility yesterday without signing a contract, a good sign for Detroit. The Eagles put on a full court press to sign the fifth year linebacker from Mississippi but Wayne left and reports had the Eagles still trying to clear cap room. Philadelphia had even scheduled a 3:00 press conference where Wayne spoke, but there was no contract to announce.
He was effusive in his praise for Philadephia, but said the idea of playing against the team that released him, Green Bay, twice a season, was appealing to him.
"I think I'd fit in perfect" in the Eagles defensive scheme, said Wayne, who recorded 132 tackles for Green Bay last season. "I'm full of energy, exciting, hard-working."
Just 26 years old, Wayne appears to be the Lions first choice in their plans to revamp the linebacking corps that lacked both speed and talent. Lions head coach Steve Mariucci and President Matt Millen will make a strong push to get Wayne to stay in the NFC North division.
Wayne has made it clear he prefers the Eagles because of their strong chance to win a championship, but as with all free agents, money talks and Detroit may have to overpay again to sway the young star.
"By (today), we should have an answer," Lewis said.
If Detroit is unable to sign Wayne, it will turn its full attention toward Tampa Bay strongside linebacker Alshermond Singleton - if he's still available. Singleton has been negotiating with the Dallas Cowboys for the past two days, but hasn't come to an agreement. He is expected to shop his offer to Tampa and Detroit before signing.
ANOTHER ONE IN THE FOLD: Detroit signed 40-year old veteran guard Ray Brown to a new deal yesterday. Brown, who stepped into the void left by the free agent signing of Jeff Hartings and the trade of journeyman Brenden Stai and solidified the Lions offensive front inked a one-year, $780,000 contract that included a $25,000 signing bonus according to ESPN's John Clayton.