Cornerback signs with Falcons

Cornerback Tod McBride today signed a contract with the Falcons, joining cornerback Tyrone Williams in Atlanta.<p>

Terms of McBride's deal were not known, but it will be for much less than the five-year deal that Williams received on March 15. Williams, who is expected to start, got a bonus of about $2.2 million and his salary averages between $2 million to $2.5 million per season.

McBride, Green Bay's top backup the past three seasons, likely will play behind Williams and Ray Buchanan. Juran Bolden, Kevin Mathis and Fred Weary, who played for the Falcons last year, are all unrestricted free agents. But Bolden and Mathis are coming off knee injuries.

McBride, 6-1, 208 pounds, is a four-year NFL veteran who has played his entire pro career with Green Bay after being claimed off waivers by the Packers in 1999 from Seattle. While McBride has good size, he struggles in coverage and that is probably why he did not receive a contract with an opportunity to start from other teams that he visited, like Dallas, Arizona and Kansas City. McBride visited with the Falcons earlier this month.

A part-time player at cornerback in his four seasons with the Packers, McBride has tallied 128 tackles and three interceptions during his 61-game NFL career, which includes 10 starts.

Last season McBride played in 15 games with four starts. Because of a groin injury he suffered late in the season, McBride was forced to miss games vs. Buffalo (Dec. 22) and the playoff game vs. Atlanta (Jan. 4). He contributed 43 tackles, the most of any reserve on the team, one interception, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and eight passes defensed. McBride's best performances in 2002, included a career-best 11-tackle outing vs. Minnesota (Dec. 8) and an eight-tackle effort at Chicago (Oct. 7).

McBride originally was signed by Seattle as a rookie free agent in 1999 out of UCLA. He was waived by the Seahawks prior to the start of the regular season and was claimed off waivers by Green Bay. The majority of McBride's playing time in his rookie season came on special teams. He played in 15 games after being declared inactive for the season's opening game. He finished third on the Packers special teams with 15 tackles to go along with two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

In 2000 McBride entered the season as the top reserve at cornerback. He played in 15 games, which included six starting assignments, before being forced to miss the regular season finale with a hairline fracture within his right knee. He contributed 46 tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes defensed.

In 2001 McBride continued to be one of the top reserves on the team, playing in the Packers' 'dime' defense and on special teams throughout the year. He played in all 16 games for the first time in his career and the team's two playoff contests. He recorded 34 tackles, two sacks and seven pass breakups on defense, in addition to 10 special teams stops, which ranked third on the team.

McBride was moved to safety for his senior season at UCLA after playing wide receiver his freshman and sophomore campaigns (1995-96). As a senior he collected 26 tackles, one pass defense and two blocked kicks.


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