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Archive for Sunday, August 25, 2002

Freeman ready to soar

Philadelphia signs former Packers receiver

August 25, 2002

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— Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Freeman signed a one-year deal Saturday night with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The deal is believed to be worth to $1.7 million.

The 30-year-old Freeman was released by the Green Bay Packers in a cost-cutting move on June 3.

He was due to earn a base salary of $4.3 million this season and count $5.728 million against the Packers' salary cap in the fourth year of what was a seven-year, $42 million deal signed after the 1998 season.

To make room for Freeman, the Eagles released wideout Na Brown, a fourth-round pick in 1999 who had just 34 career catches.

Freeman improves a receiving corps that includes starters James Thrash and Todd Pinkston and Freddie Mitchell, a first-round pick last season.

The Eagles, who lost to St. Louis in the NFC championship game last January, have struggled on offense this preseason. The starters have scored just 13 points in 13 possessions.

Freeman is quite familiar with Eagles coach Andy Reid, a former assistant in Green Bay. Philadelphia runs a West Coast offense similar to the one used by the Packers.

Freeman becomes the second member of the 1996 Packers Super Bowl championship team to come to Philadelphia this summer, joining former Pro Bowl running back Dorsey Levens, who signed a one-year deal last month after he was cut for salary-cap purposes.

Green Bay had wanted Freeman to play for about $1 million and incentives this year. But Freeman was upset after the Packers traded for receiver Terry Glenn last winter and said he'd rather play elsewhere than take such a big paycut.

He considered signing with Baltimore and Carolina before choosing the Eagles.

Freeman is coming off his least productive season in six years as a starter, with 52 receptions for 818 yards and six touchdowns.

His best year was 1998, when he had 84 catches for 1,424 yards and 14 touchdowns. Freeman and quarterback Brett Favre were the top active touchdown tandem in the NFL with 57 scores, fifth-most ever. He also caught 10 touchdown passes in the postseason.

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