Schroeder deals with Detroit. Free agency roundup

Wide receiver Bill Schroeder may be playing for the Detroit Lions next year while the search for a veteran middle linebacker and return specialist continues for the Green Bay Packers.<p>

The Lions, who signed former St. Louis Rams' receiver Az-Zahir Hakim earlier this month, are interested in Schroeder. Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg was the Packers' quarterbacks coach in 1996 when Schroeder was on Green Bay's practice squad. Sherman Lewis, fired by the Minnesota Vikings at the end of last season, has been hired as a Lions consultant. Lewis was the Packers' offensive coordinator from 1992-'99.

After trading for and signing wide receiver Terry Glenn last week, Packers coach Mike Sherman said the the Packers will continue to look at signing other wide receivers. Green Bay made a push for Corey Bradford, but he ended up signing with the Houston Texans and a chance to start. The Packers' interest in Schroeder has been luke-warm at best.

Schroeder has started at wide receiver the past three seasons for the Packers, averaging nearly 1,000 yards a season. But his production has declined. Since catching 74 passes in 1999, he dropped to 65 in 2000 and 53 last year.

"With his familiarity with the West Coast offense, and with Marty (Mornhinweg) and Sherm Lewis being affiliated with him, I think we're going to see if we can put something together and see if it works out for all of us," Lions director of pro personnel Sheldon White told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Schroeder's agent, John Perla, has said he will not comment on Schroeder until he is signed. Schroeder, a seventh-year pro, likely will be competing for a No. 3 spot in Detroit. The Lions probably will start Johnnie Morton and Hakim. They also are making a push to re-sign Germane Crowell, but so are the Minnesota Vikings.

Losing out on linebackers

The Packers came up short in the bidding for free agent middle linebacker Henri Crockett. The five-year veteran on Wednesday agreed to a three-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings, who last week lost starting middle linebacker Kailee Wong to the expansion Houston Texans in free agency. Crockett, 27, will earn $3 million in the deal.

The Vikings were considering signing former Green Bay starter Bernardo Harris, who was released by the Packers prior to the start of free agency.

Green Bay also was pursuing New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, but Johnson took a pay cut to remain with the Super Bowl champions.

Johnson, a seven-year veteran who has spent his entire career in New England, will make $650,000 next season – down from $3.1 million – but will get a $1 million roster bonus payable this week, according to

In search of a returner

Free agent veterans Brian Mitchell and Glyn Milburn are possible candidates to fill Green Bay's need for a return specialist. Allen Rossum, the Packers' returner for the last two seasons, signed with the Atlanta Falcons earlier this week.

Mitchell is 33 years old and Milburn is 31.

Seeking a D-lineman

The Packers have been negotiating with the agent for defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn in recent days. Wynn was selected in the first round of the 1997 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Seattle, Washington, Cincinnati and New Orleans also are in on the Wynn sweepstakes. Wynn may make a decision by Friday.

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