Lions inform Julian Peterson he will not return in 2011

Give the Detroit Lions credit for being more upfront with linebacker Julian Peterson than most clubs would be.

The team has already informed the veteran that he is not in their plans for 2011 and will not be returning to the organization.

“We had a meeting on Monday, a great meeting, and I thanked him for his two years of service," general manager Martin Mayhew said, according to the Detroit News. "Anytime you make 31 straight starts for a team, you have given a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make that happen. I thanked him and told him we weren't going to bring him back.

"He did what we wanted him to do. He had some production as a starter for two years, but I think it's time to move on."

Peterson’s contract is ultimately what did him in. He was due to earn $8 million this coming season, more than anyone would be willing to pay him. The Lions need to focus their efforts in the draft and free agency on the back end of their defense. They desperately need an infusion of talent at linebacker and in the secondary, particularly at cornerback.

But ultimately the fate of the Lions next season will rest on the health and performance of star-crossed former No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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