However, the Lions made some leaps and took a more assertive approach on Tuesday.
In addition to scheduling a visit for defensive end Everette Brown, the Lions also signed cornerback Jacob Lacey, re-signed Andre Fluellen and brought back star linebacker Stephen Tulloch on a five-year extension.
Stephen Tulloch was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round (116th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft. Tulloch collected five pass deflections, three sacks, two interceptions and led the Lions with 111 tackles last season.
He joined Detroit last summer on a one-year contract and reunited with Jim Schwartz. The 5-11, 240-pound middle linebacker tested the waters on the open market as an unrestricted free agent, but received the long-term deal he was hoping for from Detroit.
Entering his seventh season in the NFL, Tulloch, 27, has amassed 568 tackles, 7.5 sacks and four interceptions, including a whopping total of 160 tackles in his last season with the Titans in 2010.
An undrafted rookie free agent in 2009, Jacob Lacey, 24, signed with the Indianapolis Colts. The Oklahoma State alum provided an immediate impact at the next level, starting nine games in ’09. He appeared in every game as well and chalked up 85 tackles and three interceptions in his first season. Both stats still remain career-bests.
Lacey started eight contests in 2010 (played in 12 games) and generated 64 tackles and an interception. He started 10 games and played in 15 games in 2011, racking up 72 tackles, one interception and three forced fumbles.
The 5-10, 177-pound corner visited the Lions’ Allen Park training facility last week after the Colts decided not to offer him a restricted free agent tender. Look for him to compete for the starting spot vacated by Eric Wright, who left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Everette Brown was selected 43rd overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2009 NFL Draft. The 6-1, 256-pound defensive end started just three games (played in 28 games) in two seasons with the Panthers, registering 47 tackles, 6.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception. He cleared waivers after being cut by Carolina last September.
Brown, 24, was waived by the San Diego Chargers last week and went unclaimed. The former Florida State standout posted 21.5 tackles for a loss and 13.5 sacks as a junior for the Seminoles before declaring for the draft.
After accumulating just two tackles in three games last season for San Diego, the undersized defensive end could be heavily motivated to turn his career around with a change of scenery.
He appears to be chock-full of potential, as well as an ideal developmental project to bring into training camp. Brown would be available for the fourth-year NFL minimum and could have the opportunity to work with the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Corey Williams and Nick Fairley.
A very versatile, 6-2, 302-pound defensive tackle, Andre Fluellen was drafted in 2008 in the third round by the Lions. Also a former Florida State standout, Fluellen has played at every position on Detroit’s defensive line in his four seasons with the team. Fluellen, 27, has seen in action in 51 contests and started five games, forcing 46 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one fumble.
Look for him to have a more prominent role during the upcoming 2012 NFL season.
Oh, I almost forgot the most interesting news tidbit from Tuesday.
Apparently, LB David Hawthorne didn’t get the memo about Tulloch’s five-year deal.
Anwar Richardson of MLive.com reported that Hawthorne was in a plane bound for Detroit when the news broke of Tulloch’s contract, unaware that the player he would have been potentially replacing had already re-signed.
As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes, “Lions officials currently are drawing straws to determine who’ll be the one to tell Hawthorne he came to town for no reason.”
Maybe he read the story on the plane. Maybe the Lions were hoping he could transition to outside linebacker. Maybe the Seahawks will bring him back into the fold.
The Lions are looking to build on last season’s success and are off to a solid start, making Calvin Johnson a Lion for life, franchise tagging Cliff Avril and re-signing offensive tackle Jeff Backus and defensive tackle Shaun Hill to two-year deals. Detroit also bolstered its depth in the secondary by retaining safety Erik Coleman.
Verse of This Piece: “Doing right brings freedom to honest people, but those who are not trustworthy will be caught in their own desires.” —Proverbs 11:6