Published: December 28. 2006 3:00AM
LionsWill Furrey sign by Saturday?
That's the Lions' deadline to spend 2006 salary cap money
December 28, 2006
BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
The Lions' Mike Furrey ranks third in the NFC in receptions. (Roy Williams is tied for eighth.)
NAME REC YDS AVG TD
Donald Driver, G.B. 89 1272 14.3 7
S. Jackson, STL 88 782 8.9 2
Mike Furrey, DET 87 984 11.3 5
Reggie Bush, N.O. 86 729 8.5 2
Torry Holt, STL 84 1098 13.1 10
Anquan Boldin, ARI 79 1091 13.8 4
Terrell Owens, DAL 79 1063 13.5 12
Roy Williams, DET 76 1206 15.9 5
After last season, Mike Furrey wasn't sure where he was going to play. What city? What position? But he came to Detroit as a wide receiver and surpassed just about everyone's expectations, and now he might sign a contract extension with the Lions before Sunday's season finale at Dallas.
"I know it's in talks right now," Furrey said Wednesday. "I know they're going to try to get something wrapped up here hopefully by the end of this week. But right now, my main focus is obviously Dallas, and all that stuff will take care of itself."
Furrey and defensive lineman Cory Redding appear to be the Lions' top priorities, with 4 p.m. Saturday the deadline to use this year's salary cap money.
The other Lions scheduled to become unrestricted free agents March 2 include safety Terrence Holt, fullback Cory Schlesinger, safety Jon McGraw, offensive lineman Rick DeMulling, wide receiver Corey Bradford, cornerback Jamar Fletcher, defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson and running back Arlen Harris.
Chief operating officer Tom Lewand generally declines to comment on contract negotiations, except to say the Lions always try to lock up good players and use all of their salary cap money.
Furrey ranks sixth in the NFL -- and third in the NFC -- in receptions with 87. He ranks 17th in receiving yards with 984. Not bad for a guy who had only 21 catches for 197 yards in his career.
After playing in the XFL and the Arena League, Furrey signed with Mike Martz's Rams in 2003 and caught 20 passes for 189 yards. After catching only one pass for eight yards in 2004, he moved to safety in 2005 and led the team with four interceptions.
After Martz became the Lions' offensive coordinator in the off-season, Furrey signed with the Lions and moved back to wide receiver. He started out in the slot, then moved to the outside and became the No. 2 receiver behind Roy Williams.
Furrey fit coach Rod Marinelli's style as much as he fit Martz's system.
"He's everything that I'm looking for," Marinelli said. "He's a highly productive guy. He does a lot of really good things for us. I just love his attitude and what he brings to our team. It's special. ... Boy, we sure do want him here."
Does this mean the Lions see Furrey as their No. 2 receiver next season? Marinelli said Furrey would determine his position. Furrey sounded as if he wouldn't re-sign with the Lions if they didn't see him as the No. 2 guy.
"I haven't heard much, because I let my guy do that in those kind of talks," Furrey said. "But, not being arrogant, if you look at the statistics and what's going on right now, if they want to make a claim that I'm only a third or fourth guy, then obviously, I'll be able to go succeed somewhere else from what's happened. We'll see what happens."
Does this indicate Martz will be back next season and not go elsewhere to be a head coach? Furrey said he wasn't tied to Martz and he and Martz had to make their own decisions. But Furrey also said he was confident Martz would be back and the Lions could succeed with many of the same players who have gone 2-13 this season.
"He knows what this offense is capable of doing with the guys that are here, and it's just a matter of keeping these guys together," Furrey said. "If you look at New England, if you look at some of the teams that have been good in the NFL, they keep their core guys around.
"They keep the guys that have been performing for them and understand the game and not just come in and are 7-foot and run. It'll be interesting to see if we can keep this thing going and build off of that."
NOTEBOOK: The Lions put cornerback Fernando Bryant (concussion) on injured reserve and signed cornerback Dee McCann off the practice squad. ... Tight end Casey FitzSimmons suffered a separated shoulder Sunday against Chicago and is doubtful for the finale. ... Left guard Ross Verba (groin) is doubtful. Linebacker Teddy Lehman (hamstring) and kick returner Eddie Drummond (hip) are questionable.
Contact NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA at 313-222-8831 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org