Bradford signs with Texans

A day after signing Terry Glenn, the Green Bay Packers suffered their first major loss in free agency when wide receiver Corey Bradford signed with the expansion Houston Texans. The Packers were negotiating with Bradford, but he never figured in as a sure starter for the upcoming season.<p>

Bradford first visited Houston, the NFL's newest team, on March 6. He also visited with the Detroit Lions. In the end, the opportunity to be the go-to guy for the Texans won out.

"They just made me feel welcome," Bradford told the Houston media.

Bradford was Green Bay's No. 3 receiver last year. He finished fifth on the team with 31 catches for 526 yards and two touchdowns. He also had seven special teams tackles.

The possibility of Bradford starting for the Packers this season were greatly diminished when the team acquired Glenn in a trade late last week. Second-year pro Robert Ferguson is expected to get a chance to start, and the Packers are trying to restructure Antonio Freeman's contract. It is not certain whether the Packers will try to re-sign Bill Schroeder.

At times Bradford, 26, showed potential to be a game-breaking receiver. He had three 100-yard games receiving, but he often lacked consistency. He has been labeled as "one-dimensional" for his ability to run deep routes and make a big catch, like he did against San Francisco in the playoffs last year.

Houston gave him a three-year deal worth $5.25 million, including a $1.8 million signing bonus. The base salaries are $525,000 (2002), $1.25 million (2003) and $1.675 million (2004).

Bradford had 71 receptions for 1,190 yards and seven TDs in Green Bay in 42 games over four seasons. He played in only eight games as a rookie and missed all but two games in 2000 with a fractured left fibula.

Bradford has displayed a knack for the big play, averaging 16.8 yards per grab and 27.7 yards on his seven touchdown receptions. His best season was in 1999 when posted 37 catches for 637 yards and five scores. The Texans believe his most productive days are ahead of him.

"What Corey does is give us a chance to be explosive on offense," Texans general manager Charley Casserly said. "He was the No. 1 receiver on our free agent board and we feel we're getting Corey at the right point in his career."

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