Thursday, June 3, 2004
Lions plan to let Ricks go
Team tells tight end he can seek trade; Alexander to sign
By Mike O'Hara / The Detroit News
ALLEN PARK — The Lions are using mini-camp to make a change at tight end.
Mikhael Ricks, a starter most of the last two seasons and the team’s top receiving tight end, has been given the opportunity to arrange a trade with another team. Ricks was excused from mini-camp Wednesday and is not likely to return.
“Michael’s been given the chance to shop his services,” Lions Vice President Bill Keenist said.
The Lions have been in contract negotiations with tight end Stephen Alexander and hope to have an agreement soon. President Matt Millen has said he wants to sign Alexander so he can take part in the mini-camp. There are two more practices this week and four next week.
Alexander played only two games for San Diego in 2003 because of a hernia and did not catch a pass. The injury required surgery. The Lions believe Alexander has recovered fully. He ran pass patterns and did other drills in a workout during a visit to the team’s training complex last month.
When healthy, Alexander has been a productive player in six pro seasons. He caught 113 passes for Washington from 1998-2000 with a career high of 47 in 2000.
Ricks also has played six pro seasons, the last two for the Lions. He added speed and receiving ability in 2002 with 27 receptions. He was a Pro Bowl alternate. Ricks never seemed to recover his speed in 2003 after undergoing knee surgery in the off-season.
No biggie for the Lions. If they get Alexander, they still have Casey Fitzsimmons to back him up. Fantasy wise- STAY AWAY