Lions sign CB James, release three

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tom Kowalski at reports that the Lions on Tuesday signed free-agent CB Will James, who Killer said was "impressive" during a workout for the team earlier in the day.

An old 2006 story from's Len Pasquarelli sheds some insight on the new guy, who used to go by the name William Peterson.

A third-round selection of the Giants in the 2001 draft, James missed 11 games in 2003 after suffering a stress fracture to the right transverse process, a small bone in the lower back. He returned to camp the following summer and was so highly regarded that the Giants signed him to a five-year, $27 million contract extension.

James responded by playing in all 16 games in 2004, arguably the best season of his career. But then (in 2005), the back problems flared up in camp, worsened early in the season, and eventually forced James onto injured reserve. The diagnosis: an old displaced fracture and so-called "hot spots," a sign of a potential stress fracture to the left transverse process.

Surgery would have ended James' career, so the former Western Illinois standout worked out and worked his way back into health.

James was released by the Giants, signed with the Eagles, and since bounced to the Bills, where he was signed in preseason last year but cut by the end of camp. He signed with Jacksonville, played in eight games and made one start. The Jags released James last month.

May just be camp fodder, but James has some return experience in his past, and given the Lions' situation at CB, who knows?

As Patrick already noted on the blog, the Lions also on Tuesday released CB Tra Battle, DE Rudolph Harvie and RB Antone Smith, a player who had intrigued many Denizens.

They're talking about it in The Den!