With less than two weeks remaining until the start of the regular season, there’s another option on the table for any club looking for secondary help, as veteran defensive back Drayton Florence plans to make a return to the NFL, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Florence, 34, has been out of the league since 2013.
Florence spent a few weeks on the Lions’ roster last August, and once he was released, the 11-year vet worked out for both the Jets and 49ers, but failed to secure a contract; he then announced his retirement in April of this year. Florence, a second-round pick back in 2003, has played for the Chargers, Jaguars, Bills, Lions, and – most recently – the Panthers. In Carolina in 2013, Florence made 26 tackles, defended nine passes, and grabbed a pair of interceptions, ranking an impressive 19th among 110 qualified cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required).
Over the course of his 11-year NFL career, Florence has appeared in a total of 157 games, starting 104 of them. He’s tallied 20 interceptions, 104 passes defended, six fumble recoveries, and 486 tackles. While he never appeared in a Pro Bowl or won a Super Bowl, Florence’s longevity as an NFL player speaks to his ability to provide solid production at the cornerback position for a number of different teams.
Florence becomes the second veteran defensive back to announce a comeback attempt this week, joining fellow corner Cortland Finnegan. While Finnegan said he was open to playing cornerback or safety, there’s no indication yet as to whether Florence would make the move to safety in order to find a home.