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Ex-Redskin Wilkinson could pay visit today


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Ex-Redskin Wilkinson could pay visit today

By Mike O'Hara / The Detroit News


ALLEN PARK -- The Lions hope to have free-agent defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson in training camp as a visitor today and could begin preliminary contract negotiations.

They are looking for insurance at tackle because of a torn pectoral suffered by Luther Elliss earlier in the month.

The earliest projected recovery for Elliss is late in the exhibition season, and there is no guarantee he will be healthy when the Lions open the regular season at home against Arizona on Sept. 7.

The uncertainty is one reason the Lions are interested in Wilkinson, President Matt Millen said Thursday.

Wilkinson had a career-low 16 tackles with Washington last year, his ninth pro season. He played in 12 games, also a career low.

Cincinnati made him the top pick in the 1994 draft after his third year at Ohio State. He signed with Washington as a free agent in 1998. The Bengals could have matched Washington's offer but took compensation in the form of first- and third-round draft picks.

Wilkinson, who is 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, has never performed to the level of his draft position. But he could be a solid run defender if teamed inside with Shaun Rogers.

On Monday, the Redskins released Wilkinson when the sides could not agree on a contract reduction. The Redskins wanted to cut Wilkinson's base pay from $3.5 million for 2003 to $2 million. The Lions aren't likely to offer that much.

"We just want to get a feel for him," Millen said. "It's all got to fit."

Guard Tony Semple practiced in pads for the first time Thursday. He was taken off the physically-unable-to-perform list and relished his first day of contact.

Semple had not played since he suffered a right shoulder dislocation against the Patriots on Thanksgiving Day. His return to training camp was slowed by recent arthroscopic knee surgery.

"I'm far, far from where I need to be to play now, to play successfully," Semple said. "As far as getting back into pads, it feels good, man.

"I went out there and wouldn't say cheap shot, but actually ran downfield in a little seven-on-seven and got a little pop on one of the linebackers."

Semple hopes to win back his starting job at left guard. Eric Beverly is No. 1 there for now.


Fullback Cory Schlesinger relived his ride in the Ford GT that vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. brought to camp Wednesday. Only 1,000 will be produced for sale in 2004, Ford said. The projected sticker price: $150,000.

Schlesinger is an automobile enthusiast and drives a 1966 Pontiac GTO, which he bought in Nebraska.

Schlesinger liked Ford's Ford.

"It's the first time I ever drove anything that cost $150,000, for one thing," he said. "You could just tell it was built for speed."

Schlesinger didn't take it out on the road, and he wouldn't say how fast he got it up to.

You can reach Mike O'Hara at (313) 982-3810, (313) 222-1488 or mohara@detnews.com.

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if the Lions think Wilkinson is 'stout' against the run they are in for a mild surprise :)

the Cowboys scouts had it right that Wilkinson is far too inconsistent to count on as an anchor.

ideally he is good as part of a rotation or as the top backup off the bench on a very solid line.

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