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Thursday, February 14
Updated: February 15, 2:42 PM ET
 
Lions confirm that Batch will not be back

ESPN.com news services

PONTIAC, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions expect to release quarterback Charlie Batch on June 1 if he isn't selected by the Houston Texans in Monday's expansion draft.

Team spokesman Bill Keenist confirmed that Friday, adding that team president Matt Millen and coach Marty Mornhinweg have informed Batch and his agent, Tom Condon, of their decision..

The June 1 date is critical because the Lions would have to count an extra $5 million against this year's $71.8 million salary cap if he is released before then. Keenist said that Batch will be given permission to talk to other teams before the deadline.

The Lions' decision to release Batch could mean the Lions will draft Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington with the third overall pick in April's draft. The Lions finished 2-14, losing their first 12 games before beating Minnesota on Dec. 16.

Condon also left open the longshot possibility of a trade.

"They have said they will provide us with a letter that authorizes us to speak to other teams (about a trade)," Condon told ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli. "We haven't received it yet, but it certainly appears that Charlie is done in Detroit, that they want to go another way."

Batch, who as a rookie replaced Scott Mitchell as the Lions quarterback two games into the 1998 season, has had a a rocky tenure in Detroit. He has had trouble staying healthy and critics say he's not mobile, lacks a great arm and fails to make quick decisions.

He entered the 2001 season as the starter, but lost his job after a 28-6 loss to Green Bay. Mornhinweg opted to go with newly acquired Ty Detmer in losses to Cleveland and St. Louis before handing the job back to Batch. Detmer threw seven interceptions in the Cleveland game.

Batch's season ended on Dec. 2 in Chicago when he separated his shoulder.

He was the NFL's lowest-rated starting quarterback in 2000 after completing 53.6 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Last season, Batch completed 198 of 341 passes for 2,392 yards, 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. On Nov. 18 at Arizona, he set single-game franchise records with 62 pass attempts, 36 completions and 436 passing yards.

In 1999, Batch signed a seven-year, $31 million contract, which included a $10 million signing bonus. The contract was signed under former coach Bobby Ross.

The Lions won't owe Batch anything if he is cut, because his base salary for the final four years of his contract is not guaranteed.

But when the team releases Batch, the Lions will take a $1.67 million hit to this season's salary cap and a $5 million hit next season, based on the prorated portions of Batch's signing bonus. If he is released before June 1, the entire $6.67 million would count this year.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.




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