Lions put hold on Redding
February 22, 2007
BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
The Lions designated Cory Redding their franchise player Wednesday, effectively keeping him off the free-agent market.
They failed to sign Redding after recruiting him hard the past two months, but they still hope to lock him up long-term.
"I think that our use of the tag is reflective of the importance we place on Cory Redding being part of our team," said chief operating officer Tom Lewand. "We clearly hope to have Cory Redding a part of the Detroit Lions organization for a long time."
Redding joins stars such as Indianapolis defensive end Dwight Freeney, Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs and New England cornerback Asante Samuel who have been tagged as franchise players.
"Those are very fine football players, and Cory is deserving of being included in that class of player," Lewand said.
Coach Rod Marinelli, a former defensive line coach, said he thinks Redding and Shaun Rogers would be a dominant duo at tackle.
After moving from end to tackle six games into last season, Redding totaled eight sacks -- enough to lead the Lions for the year.
But he is reportedly unhappy. The Lions are 19-45 since they drafted him in the third round in 2003, and his options will be severely limited when he becomes a free agent March 2.
The Lions have the right to match any offer Redding receives. If they decline to match, they get two first-round draft picks. They must offer a one-year deal for $6,775,000, the average salary of the five highest-paid defensive tackles.