Notebook: Lions Depart Combine

Lions coach Jim Schwartz (AP Photo)

After offering a dissenting view of the league's tampering ruling, the Lions also found time to meet with some prospects while eying others prior to departing Indianapolis on Sunday. More inside ...

It looks like the Lions won't quietly accept the NFL's ruling that they tampered with former Kansas City safety Jarred Page before the 2010 season, a ruling that will cost them their seventh-round draft pick and 14 spots (from nine to 23) in the fifth round.

Coach Jim Schwartz, addressing the media at the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday, indicated the Lions might appeal the ruling.

"I think that too much has been said about something that should be confidential," Schwartz said. "I am disappointed so much has come out.

"But we have received that notification and I believe firmly in our case and that we reached the wrong conclusion in that. We still have some options we can pursue."

The Lions have until Monday to file an appeal.

At issue was a comment made by defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham made during the 2009 season but printed in the Detroit Free Press last offseason.

The quote, published Feb. 14, 2010, read: "They keep wanting to dump players. I would like to be there to catch a lot of them, because I know a couple of those guys. ... Some of those young kids I coached, I really believed they were going to be good players, and I know I'm right about that."

Cunningham coached in the Kansas City organization for 19 seasons. It is believed he was talking about Page, who was involved in a contract dispute with the Chiefs at the time. He eventually signed with the New England Patriots.

The NFL indicated that the punishment doled out to the Lions wasn't based solely on the quote. Goodell ruled that Cunningham's actions amounted to "impermissible contact with a player (or his agent)."

"An appeal is one of our options," Schwartz said. "But, again, I will leave it at that. Too much has been said about this already."

Combine Notes:

  • The Lions clearly are looking hard at group of four offensive tackles with their 13th overall pick - USC's Tyron Smith, Colorado's Nate Solder, Boston College's Anthony Castonzo and Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi. Solder, who measured out at 6-8, 319, with a 34 1/2-inch arm reach and an 81-inch wing span, said he met with general manager Martin Mayhew during the Senior Bowl.

    "It's going to be very competitive for those guys and it's going to be fun to watch them work out," Schwartz said. "There's a lot of guys in a clump right now, but over the next few months we'll see them separate and see who ends up at the top of the class."

  • Detroit's four-game win streak to conclude the season, which included a victory over Super Bowl champion-Green Bay, wasn't lost on anyone -- including Packers' coach Mike McCarthy. Said McCarthy in Indy, "I think we have an extremely competitive division." McCarthy called Detroit's defense "distinctly different", adding "I think Detroit is definitely a football team the rest of the NFL" has to be aware of."

  • Detroit will look to upgrade at linebacker, and one player they're considering is Fresno State's Chris Carter. According to Scout.com's Tim Yotter, the Lions were one of several teams to meet with the 6-1, 249-pound collegiate defensive end in Indianapolis. Carter, projected as an outside linebacker at the pro level, is considered a third-to-fifth round pick.

  • The Lions have made no secret of their desire to re-sign would-be free-agent CB Chris Houston, though not enough to use the franchise tag on him. "Chris was a very consistent player for us," Schwartz said. "It was probably the best he's played in his career. He's definitely a guy we have a lot of respect for and like to have back. We're still waiting to see what the ground rules (for free agents) are going to be." The Lions might choose to use a restricted tender on him.

  • The Lions still haven't released OLB Julian Peterson, though GM Martin Mayhew has already notified him that he won't be back. The Lions are most likely waiting to make sure Peterson is completely healthy before they release him.

  • QUOTE TO NOTE: "Anybody that's been around Kyle Vanden Bosch understands why I was at his doorstep last year (on free-agent signing day). No. 1, he was outstanding as a player and anybody that's been around him understands how much he brings to you in addition to that. He's an incredibly hard worker. If anything, he's a guy that outperforms what he's asked to do. He's such a great example for free agency and for this league. We gave him a lot of money and Kyle feels as though it's his responsibility to earn that. We didn't give him that money based on what he's done in the past. He feels as though he needs to earn that. It's an absolute pleasure to have him. He's going to be a big, big part of our success as an organization." -- Coach Jim Schwartz on Vanden Bosch's impact.

    RoarReport.com's Nate Caminata, PackerReport.com's Bill Huber, Scout.com's John Crist, and VikingUpdate.com's Tim Yotter all contributed to this report.

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