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Ex-Trojan Peete Is ‘Signed, Sealed and Delivered’ in Detroit

Associated Press

Rodney Peete, opting for professional football over baseball, signed a multi-year contract Thursday with the Detroit Lions.

Terms of the agreement with the former USC quarterback, Detroit’s sixth-round draft choice, were not disclosed, but it was reported to be a two-year contract.

Peete will join the Lions’ voluntary passing camp Saturday at Oakland University in suburban Rochester, Mich. Regular training camp begins July 20.

“I’m signed, sealed and delivered,” Peete said during an interview at the Pontiac Silverdome, where he signed with the Lions Thursday afternoon, shortly after arriving in Michigan.

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“It was a tough decision,” he said. “I’ve loved baseball a long time and played it a long time. But football is where my heart is.”

Peete was runner-up to Oklahoma State running back Barry Sanders, the Lions’ top draft choice and No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft, in last season’s Heisman Trophy voting. Peete also was an All-American and the Pacific 10 Conference’s offensive player of the year in 1988.

Peete was the Oakland Athletics’ 13th-round selection in the baseball amateur draft. He said earlier that he was considering reporting to Oakland’s Class A farm club in Medford, Ore., if he couldn’t reach a contract agreement with the Lions.

Peete set a deadline of Wednesday for deciding between football and baseball. The Lions waited until Wednesday before offering him the contract he signed the following day.

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“In June, baseball was pursuing me, and football wasn’t,” Peete said. “As for right now, I’m a Detroit Lion . . . and I’m not thinking about baseball at all.”

Peete completed 61.5% of his passes in 1988 for 2,654 yards and 18 touchdowns with the Trojans, who lost to Michigan, 22-14, in the Rose Bowl last Jan. 2. USC also lost to Michigan State in the Rose Bowl a year earlier.

He finished college with 630 completions in 1,081 attempts for 8,225 yards, all school records.

Peete said he was looking forward to Detroit’s option-laden run-and-shoot offense, designed in part to add spark to what was the National Football League’s worst offense in 1988. Detroit was 4-12 last season.

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“I don’t think I’ll have any trouble fitting in,” Peete said. “I’m very excited about it. As a quarterback, you love to throw the football and under this (offense), you obviously do.”

Also Thursday, the Lions signed Jerry Woods and Chris Parker, their respective seventh- and eighth-round draft choices.

Woods, a defensive back and kick-returner from Northern Michigan, was a two-time Little All-American. Parker, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound defensive lineman from West Virginia, was a second-team All-American in 1988.

Earlier, the Lions signed their 12th-round pick, James Cribbs, a 6-3, 269-pound defensive end from Memphis State.

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