Kennedy stops free-agent tour after visit to Detroit

Updated: March 7, 2005, 8:20 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Kenoy Kennedy made it as far as the gate at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The Detroit Lions are just glad he didn't get on the plane.

Marcus Pollard
Pollard

Kenoy Kennedy
Kennedy

The safety was about to board a flight to Miami to continue his free-agent tour Monday, but had second thoughts. He returned to the Lions practice facility and signed a contract while the team was introducing another new player -- tight end Marcus Pollard.

ESPN.com's John Clayton reports that Kennedy signed a five-year deal worth $14 million, including a $4.4 million signing bonus. Pollard's deal is for three years and $6 million, including a $2.3 million signing bonus.

"They were calling my name and saying that I had to get on the plane or I was going to get left behind," Kennedy said. "I told them to go ahead and leave me. I decided I wanted to be a Lion."

Kennedy has played his entire 5-year career with the Denver Broncos. He is best known as a hard hitter, and has earned the wrath of the NFL for illegal hits. He was suspended for one game in 2002 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Miami's Chris Chambers, and has been fined for similar plays at least three other times.

"I think I bring a presence," he said. "Receivers are looking for me, and they might develop alligator arms."

Kennedy has five career sacks and four interceptions.

"I think we got better today, and Kenoy is a big part of that," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said.

In the first of their back-to-back press conferences Monday evening, the Lions brought out Pollard, who caught six of Peyton Manning's record 49 touchdown passes last season.

"Until a couple weeks ago, we didn't even expect that Marcus would be available, so we feel very good about adding him to the roster," team president Matt Millen said. "He brings experience, an understanding of how to win, and some great hands."

Pollard, 33, spent his first 10 seasons with Indianapolis. Last season, as one of the last options in Manning's attack, he caught 29 passes for 309 yards and six touchdowns. He missed three games with leg injuries.

"The Colts felt that they had other players who were ready to play tight end, so they let me go," he said. "That's made for a couple exciting weeks, but I'm glad I'm here and I'm looking forward to help take this team to the next level."

Like Kennedy, Pollard had interest from other teams. But his wife, Amani, made the decision easier. She went to high school in the Detroit suburb of Farmington.

"As long as we've been married, I knew this was a place I might want to play," Pollard said. "I've spent a lot of time here with my wife and her family and I like the city and the people."

Last year's starting tight end, Stephen Alexander, is an unrestricted free agent, and Mariucci knows the Pollard signing probably will drive Alexander to another team.

"We've made it clear to Stephen that we would love to have him back," Mariucci said. "But we'll understand if he chooses to take a different opportunity with another team."

One of Pollard's teammates last season, offensive guard Rick DeMulling, is scheduled to visit the Lions on Tuesday, but the biggest focus will be on the quarterback position. With Kurt Warner signing with Arizona, the team is expected to be looking at Jeff Garcia and Brad Johnson.

"We hope to have someone in place soon," Mariucci said. "I have to think we'll be able to sign a quarterback, but I'll be a little edgy until it happens."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.