From: Northern Minnesota
Lions cut Drummond; Walters, Cason and McDonald can return kicks, punts August 24, 2007 BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER After practice Thursday, Eddie Drummond was summoned to the Lions' front office and told he was being released. He turned in his playbook, then stopped by the coaches' offices to say good-bye. "It's only a business, and I've got to look at it like that," Drummond said in a phone interview later in the afternoon. "It wasn't a sudden thing that just caught me off-guard. It's been a little bit up and down ever since this year started." After signing as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State in 2002, Drummond became a return specialist. He was often injured, but at times he was the Lions' most electric player. He went to the Pro Bowl after the '04 season. Despite playing only 11 games, he became the second NFL player to return two kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns in a season. But Drummond hasn't stood out the same way since, and he has never found a role on offense. The Lions have players who do double duty. Wide receiver Troy Walters returns kicks and punts. Running back Aveion Cason returns kicks; wide receiver Shaun McDonald returns punts. "I expected something to happen just because I wasn't getting an opportunity to compete with the rest of the receivers, and I know some of the coaches didn't like just special teams players," Drummond said. "It was kind of obvious that something was going to end up happening." The irony is that Drummond, 27, stayed in Detroit as a free agent last year because the Lions had hired Mike Martz as their offensive coordinator. Drummond, 5-feet-9, 190 pounds, thought he could fill the role of the small, speedy receiver Martz had used so successfully in St. Louis. Martz praised Drummond's play at receiver during training camp last year, saying he was "very, very pleased." But after catching a pass in each of the first two regular-season games, Drummond didn't catch one in the third. Then he didn't play offense anymore. He was responsible for knowing multiple receiver positions, and he didn't execute to Martz's standards. "He had very high expectations for me when he came in," Drummond said. "Everything was actually in line. It was perfect. I was actually his guy in preseason and in training camp last year. I played the first three games, I believe, and then after the third game ... "Made a couple of mistakes in that game, and I haven't really seen the field since the third game of the season last year." The timing of Drummond's release gives him a better chance to land another job. Drummond said he expected to sign elsewhere soon and he had heard Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Denver were interested. As a Lion, Drummond averaged 23.6 yards returning kicks and 9.8 returning punts. He had six touchdowns. "It's been a good six years here, 5 1/2 years here, in Detroit," Drummond said. "Hopefully I've brought a lot of excitement to the city. I'm not totally out of Detroit. I bought a condo here. So I'm going to be coming in here and visiting and everything like that. Six years in a place, you've got a lot invested in it."