LIONS SIGN EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENT RB ARTOSE PINNER AND UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT CB JAMAR FLETCHER; RELEASE LB NATE WAYNEAllen Park, Mich.- The Detroit Lions announced today that they have re-signed exclusive rights free agent RB Artose Pinner and unrestricted free agent CB Jamar Fletcher to one-year deals. Additional contract terms were not disclosed. The team also released LB Nate Wayne.
Pinner (5-10, 232) enters his fourth season with the Lions who originally drafted him in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. Last season he carried the ball a career-high 106 times and finished with career bests in rushing yards (349), receptions (21), receiving yards (181) and touchdowns (3) while playing in all 16 games with two starts.
After missing most of his rookie season while recovering from a leg injury suffered in the 2003 Senior Bowl, Pinner played in the final three games of the 2003 season and started two. He began to emerge as a regular contributor during the 2004 season when he played in nine games and started two in place of an injured Kevin Jones. Pinner finished his second season with 174 yards and his first two career touchdowns.
At the University of Kentucky, Pinner started 14-of-34 games and ran for over 100 yards 11 times. He rushed for 2,105 yards and 17 touchdowns on 438 attempts (4.8 avg) and totaled 407 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 58 receptions during his career with the Wildcats.
Pinner attended Hopkinsville (Ky.) High School, where he rushed for 5,829 yards on 704 carries (8.3 avg) and 68 touchdowns as the starting running back his junior and senior seasons. He was named the Class AAA State Player of the Year as a senior after rushing 361 times for 3,274 yards and 33 touchdowns, which also earned him honorable mention All-American by USA Today.
Fletcher (5-10, 186) joins the Lions and is entering his sixth NFL season. He spent the past two seasons with the San Diego Chargers who acquired him via trade from the Miami Dolphins. Fletcher was originally drafted by Miami in the first round (26th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft.
Last season, Fletcher played in 14 games for San Diego and had 28 tackles (20 solo) and an interception which he return for 19 yards. In 2004, he played in all 16 games and garnered 37 tackles (34 solo) and an interception. As a reserve cornerback, Fletcher also was a solid contributor on special teams. He finished with 11 special teams tackles in 2004 which was the fourth-best on the team.
In three seasons with the Dolphins, Fletcher played in 41 games with six starts. His best season was in 2002 when he finished with a career-high 39 tackles (36 solo) and two interceptions, one of which he returned 30 yards.
As a collegian for Wisconsin, Fletcher set school records with 21 career interceptions and 57 passes defensed. He also set a Big Ten conference record with 459 career interception return yards and five interception return touchdowns. Fletcher declaredÂ himself eligibleÂ for the NFL Draft after his junior season in which he was the recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award, annually given to the nation's top defensive back. He was also the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year following his final season with the Badgers.
Fletcher is a native of St.Louis, Missouri. He was an All-America defensive back and quarterback at Hazelwood East High School as well as a three-year team captain.
Wayne (6-0, 237) resigned with Detroit April 11 after first joining the Lions midway through the 2005 season. He played in five games last season, finishing with 21 tackles (11 solo), a sack, a forced fumble and an interception which he returned 20 yards. Wayne was inactive for the final two games of the season due to an ankle injury. He joined the Lions following his release from the Jacksonville Jaguars September 3.