Lions sign Larry Webster, Nate Freese


It took Larry Webster a while to find his way to the football field, but it didn’t take him long to land a contract with the Lions after they drafted him in the fourth round.

Tim Twentyman of the team’s website announced that the Lions have signed Webster and seventh-round kicker Nate Freese to their four-year rookie contracts. With defensive tackle Caraun Reid already in the fold, the Lions have five more draft picks left to sign.

Webster started his college days as a basketball player before making the move to football at Division II Bloomsburg two years ago. He had 26 sacks in 24 starts as a defensive end after switching sports, which signals a pretty high level of athletic ability. He’ll be facing a big jump in terms of opposition, though, and he’s definitely on the raw side so immediate help may not be in the offing.

Freese will compete with John Potter and Giorgio Tavecchio for the kicking job in Detroit after making 86.4 percent of his field goals while at Boston College. Kicking competitions are always a bit of a crapshoot, but teams generally don’t use draft picks on kickers unless they feel fairly confident that they’ll stick.