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Detroit's New Roar


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Woody brings change of the guard in Detroit

By James Royer


March 4, 2004



New addition Damien Woody now wants to point the Detroit Lions toward a Super Bowl

ALLEN PARK, Mich. ? It took only two days, but there will be a changing of the guard in Detroit after all.


The Detroit Lions addressed two of their biggest needs when the team agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent guard Damien Woody and cornerback Fernando Bryant Friday morning. The team has called a 1 p.m. press conference to introduce both Woody and Bryant.


It took a little work, but the Lions were able to reach an agreement to bring the Pro Bowler to the Motor City. Woody arrived in Detroit along with San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahmed Plummer on Wednesday, the first day of free agency in the National Football League. Woody and his wife, Nicole, stayed overnight and reportedly cancelled a visit with Miami. They agreed to join the Lions Friday morning.


Woody was a Pro Bowler in 2002 with the New England Patriots. With the team in mind, Woody moved over to the left guard position from center after Mike Compton was placed on injured reserve early in the 2003 season. He was injured in the Patriots' divisional playoff win over Tennessee and placed on the Reserved/Injured list and missed the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl.


Addressing the guard position for the long term was one of the top priorities for the Lions this off-season. The team ranked 32nd in the NFL in rushing in 2003. Mariucci understood that the team needed to add depth and youth.


In addition, the two starters from last year's unit?Eric Beverly and Ray Brown?are both unrestricted free agents. Brown, a veteran of 18 NFL seasons, is currently 41-years-old. He has not indicated if he will return for another season or retire. Beverly, meanwhile, is still learning the guard position after he spent his first five NFL seasons at center.


The Lions also filled a need in the defensive backfield when they reached an agreement with Bryant. A five-year starter with Jacksonville, Bryant is a former first-round pick (26th-overall) by the Jaguars. He is a fast and skillful man-to-man cover corner. He posted 61 tackles and one interception in 2003. For his career, Bryant has intercepted five career passes.


The signing of Bryant and Dainon Sidney, gives the Lions some greater depth at the cornerback position. Besides Dre' Bly, Detroit was ravaged by injuries in the secondary a year ago. Chris Cash (knee), Andre' Goodman (shoulder), Chris Watson (neck) and Rod Babers (shoulder) all succumbed to season-ending injuries.


The addition of Bryant also allows Detroit the flexibility to give Cash, Goodman and Babers the adequate time to make complete recoveries.




Well the Lions may be starting to get their roar back.


They just closed deals with the former Patriots Guard and much coveted target of the Dolphins Daimon Woody and former Jacksonville CB Fernando Bryant today.

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