Lions add safety, lose draft pick

By MIKE O’HARA
FOX Sports Detroit

Feb. 18, 2011

The Lions have added a veteran safety and lost a draft choice.

They agreed to terms with Erik Coleman according to media reports Friday, the same day they were docked a seventh-round pick by the NFL for being found guilty of tampering.

The tampering story was first reported by the NFL Network. Under the NFL’s ruling, the Lions also will change draft positions in the fifth round with the Kansas City Chiefs, the other team involved in the tampering issue. The Lions will drop eight spots in the round.

Coleman, 28, has played 107 games with 82 starts in seven seasons with the Jets and Falcons. He spent the last three years with the Falcons and lost his starting job in 2010.

Atlanta released Coleman last week, thus making him a free agent and eligible to sign immediately with any team. The Jets drafted Coleman in the fifth round out of Washington State in 2005. He signed with the Falcons as a free agent in 2008.

After starting all 16 games for the Falcons in 2008 and ’09, Coleman had only one start in 2010. Coleman, 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds, has 10 career interceptions.

The tampering charge apparently stems from a comment made by Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham in Feb. 2010. At the time, Cunningham said he expected the Kansas City Chiefs to dump some players and would like to pick them up because of his familiarity with their players.

Cunningham was the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator from 2004-08 and was hired by the Lions in 2009.

The Lions have until Feb. 28 to appeal the tampering charge.