Lions sign vets Hicks, Fonoti

Updated: May 5, 2009, 4:53 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Seeking to add depth, and perhaps create some training camp competition, the Detroit Lions have added a pair of veterans, neither of whom played in the NFL in 2008.

The team confirmed it has signed defensive end Eric Hicks, and guard Toniu Fonoti to one-year contracts. Financial details were not immediately available.

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Detroit also released tailback Brian Calhoun and wide receivers Travis Taylor and Steve Sanders. Taylor was a first-round pick of Baltimore in 2000, but his NFL career has been a disappointment.

Hicks, 32, played for current Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham when Cunningham held the same position with the Kansas City Chiefs. A 10-year veteran, Hicks played the first nine years of his career (1998-2006) with the Chiefs, and spent the 2007 campaign with the New York Jets, playing in 11 games and being credited with 17 tackles. He has not started a game since 2005. Hicks entered the NFL with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent from Maryland in 1998 and can play end or tackle. He has appeared in 139 games, with 104 starts, and has 254 tackles, 44½ sacks, eight passes defensed, six forced fumbles, and five recoveries.

Fonoti, a former second-round pick of San Diego in 2002, has started in 33 of his 40 appearances, most recently with the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. Since his stint in Minnesota, the massive guard has signed with two other teams, but failed to make either club's regular-season roster.

Fonoti, 27, started 14 games for the Chargers in 2002, and all 16 games in 2004. In his last three seasons in the league, however, the former Nebraska star played in only nine games.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.