Atlanta signs Joey Harrington

April 9, 2007

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Joey Harrington signed a two-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, becoming a leading contender to back up starting quarterback Michael Vick.

Harrington was the third overall pick by Detroit in the 2002 draft out of Oregon. He started 11 games with Miami last season after being obtained by the Dolphins in a trade with the Lions. He threw for 22-hundred and 36 yards with 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Harrington was benched for the final game last season and then released by Miami.

From 2002-05, he started 55 games with the Lions, throwing for 10-thousand, 242 yards with 60 touchdowns and 62 interceptions.

Harrington is expected to participate in a three-day minicamp that begins tomorrow.

Harrington and Falcons quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave each are former stars at the University of Oregon, and Harrington's relationship with Musgrave played a role in his decision to sign with Atlanta.

Harrington will have the most experience of a growing list of candidates competing to replace Matt Schaub, Vick's backup the past three seasons. Schaub was traded to Houston, where he will be the starter.

General manager Rich McKay has said that any veteran added in the offseason will compete with second-year D.J. Shockley for the backup job.

The team also has signed quarterback Chris Redman, who played for new Falcons coach Bobby Petrino for one season at Louisville. A longshot contender is James Kilian, a former seventh-round pick from Tulsa.

The Falcons on Monday also released cornerback Kevin Mathis, a 10-year veteran. Mathis made 54 career starts but was limited to eight games in 2006 after suffering a neck injury in Week 9 at Detroit.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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