Former Lions wide receiver Mike Furrey, who was part of a roster purge last week, told Sirius NFL Radio that teammates were informed Culpepper would be the starter heading into the 2009 season.
"I've spoken to a couple of my friends that are the backups there or who were there while I was there. I've talked to them over the last week or so and I know they are going to name Daunte Culpepper the starter," Furrey told Sirius. "… From Danny (Orlovsky) and a couple of other guys I've talked to, obviously, they've been offered to come back at the backup position so I figure they are going with Daunte."
This comes amid reports that the Lions will be planning to conduct private workouts with Georgia QB Matthew Stafford. Stafford is expected to be the first pick in the 2009 draft, a spot that the Lions currently hold.
Team officials have yet to confirm that assertion by Furrey, but we should know within the next couple of weeks whether or not there is validity to the story. Culpepper is due a $2.5 million roster bonus at the end of the month that would kick in another $2.5 million in base salary. If the Lions don't intend to have Culpepper as their starter to enter the offseason program, it wouldn't seem to make sense to shell out $5 million. The answer will likely come by the end of next week – if Culpepper is still on the roster, Furrey's assessment of the situation is valid.
"He's going to be the leader," he said of Culpepper. "He's had the knowledge to play the game for a long time. He's been very successful in the game. I think he was just waiting last year as long as he could to get fully healthy. He looked good when he came in but it is tough for anybody to come in right away in the middle of the season or towards the end of the season and revive a team that has been downward spiraling the whole time. He's back with (offensive coordinator Scott) Linehan and they were successful in Minnesota and I wish them all the best and Calvin (Johnson) and all those guys the best going forward."