Giants sign Arrington

Veteran linebacker had met with Packers

The New York Giants Saturday signed three-time Pro Bowler LaVar Arrington. The linebacker met with the Green Bay Packers earlier this month and also was considering signing with the Miami Dolphins before agreeing to a seven-year, $49 million deal late Friday night.

Arrington reportedly had been seeking as much as $18 million guaranteed and a $58 million deal, one reason he stayed on the market while dozens of other players signed during the first few weeks of the free-agent period.

Arrington, the second overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft, was one of the NFL's most productive and exciting linebackers in his six seasons with the Washington Redskins.

The 6-3, 253-pound Arrington has played in 79 regular season games with 67 starts. He has been credited with 467 tackles (335 solo), 22.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and three interceptions. Arrington played for the NFC Pro Bowl team every season from 2001-2003.

"We needed a big, power player to add to our defense and LaVar Arrington is that," said general manager Ernie Accorsi. "He has a presence about him and he makes us a better football team. The agreement we came to is a fair deal for the player and a fair deal for the organization.

"We came to an agreement that achieves what everybody wants: the player being rewarded for performance. Which is exactly what LaVar and the Giants wanted."

Arrington, who turns 28 on June 20, is the second veteran linebacker to join the Giants this week; Brandon Short, who played for the Giants from 2000-2003 and was Arrington's teammate at Penn State, re-signed with the team after two seasons with the Carolina Panthers.

He joins a defense that features the defensive end tandem of Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, who last year combined for 26 sacks. Both made the Pro Bowl and Umenyiora, in his third year, was an All-Pro.

In 2005, Arrington played in 13 regular season games with eight starts. He also started the Redskins' two postseason games. Arrington finished seventh on the team with 53 tackles (45 solo). He had 11 tackles (10 solo) in two games against the Giants and 10 tackles vs. Philadelphia on Nov. 6. Arrington was a standout in Washington's victory at Tampa Bay in the NFC Wild Card Game, when he had 10 tackles (six solo), an interception that he returned 21 yards to set up a touchdown, and a forced fumble.

Washington selected Arrington with its first pick of the 2000 draft, following a stellar career at Penn State. Arrington's first NFL start was against the Giants on Sept. 24, 2000, when he registered four tackles (two solo). He started 11 games at strongside linebacker as a rookie and finished the season with 73 tackles (53 solo) and four sacks. He made his first career sack and posted 10 tackles vs. Tampa Bay on Oct. 1.

The next season, Arrington established himself as one of the NFL's finest linebackers. He started all 14 games in which he played and was selected to his first Pro Bowl while leading the team with 100 tackles (83 solo). Arrington had nine passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and returned three interceptions 120 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown vs. Carolina on Oct. 21 that enabled the Redskins to earn an overtime victory. Arrington missed two games that season with a knee injury.

Arrington's best season was in 2002, when he started all 16 games and registered a career-high 11 sacks, which led all NFL linebackers. He tied with former Giant Jessie Armstead for the Washington team lead with 107 tackles (73 solo) and had four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Arrington had two sacks in a game twice within three weeks, against New Orleans on Oct. 6 and vs. Indianapolis on Oct. 20.

The following year, Arrington was voted to the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season after finishing with a career-high 116 tackles (71 solo). That season he had six sacks, a career-high seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries while starting all 16 games.

In 2004, Arrington played in only four games because of a knee injury. He injured his knee in a Week 2 loss to the Giants in Giants Stadium in which he recorded seven tackles (five solo). The lateral meniscus injury forced him to miss the next 11 games. He returned to action for two games before being placed on injured reserve prior to the season finale against Minnesota.

Arrington was one of the best linebackers in the history of Penn State, which has long been renowned for turning out great players at that position. As a senior in 1999, Arrington earned the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation's top defensive player and the Dick Butkus Award as college football's premier linebacker. A first-team All-Big Ten selection, he posted career highs in tackles (72), tackles for loss (20 for minus 98 yards), sacks (9.0), blocked kicks (two) and fumble recoveries (two). Arrington was also a consensus All-America as a junior in 1998.

At North Hills High School in suburban Pittsburgh, Arrington was the 1996 Parade National Player of the Year as a senior linebacker and running back. He was the second player in Pennsylvania Class 4-A history to rush for more than 4,000 career yards (4,357 yards and 72 touchdowns).

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