Michael Thomas Furrey
(born May 12
in Galion, Ohio
) is an American football wide receiver
for the Detroit Lions
of the National Football League
Furrey attended Hilliard Davidson high School
in Hilliard, Ohio
, and was a letter-winner in football, basketball
, and baseball
. In football, as a senior, he was a first team All-District honoree a first team All-Conference honoree, and a first team All-Ohio honoree. Michael Furrey graduated from Hilliard High School in 1995.
After high school, Furrey enrolled at Ohio State University
in 1995, where he played in 9 games as a freshman walk-on
. In 1996 he transferred to Division I-AA Northern Iowa
. In his 3 years at UNI, Furrey set new Gateway Football Conference
receiving records with career totals of 242 receptions for 3,544 yards and 27 touchdowns.
He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent
for the Indianapolis Colts
in 2000 but was waived at the end of training camp. He went on to play in the XFL
football's only year of existence for the Las Vegas Outlaws
. He finished the season with 18 receptions for 243 yards and one touchdown.
Arena Football League
Furrey played for the New York Dragons
in 2002 and 2003 as a wide receiver/defensive back
. He was leading the Arena Football League
in receptions (108), receiving yards (1,574), receiving touchdowns (46, tying an AFL record for touchdowns in a single season), and points (288) when he left the Dragons on April 29
to sign with the St. Louis Rams
of the National Football League
St. Louis Rams
Furrey made the 2003 Rams roster and played in 13 games, serving as wide receiver
and special teams
ace. He played in 8 games and 2 playoff contests in 2004. Due to a lack of depth in the Rams' secondary before the 2005 season
, Furrey converted to a free safety
based on his experience in the AFL where players play both offense and defense. He became the starter in week 5. Furrey was successful in the transition, as he had one game winning interception 67 yard return for a touchdown, and the next week a game-clinching interception in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. At the end of the 2005 season, Furrey was released.
The Detroit Lions
signed Furrey to a one-year deal on April 4
as a wide receiver, being one of the few active players in the NFL to have started on both offense and defense in his career. Furrey has emerged as a solid option in the Lions offense, catching 98 passes for 1086 yards and 7 touchdowns through week 17. His 98 receptions for that season were the most for any player on the team, in the division, and in the conference, and 2nd best in the NFL.
On December 31, 2006, Furrey set the pro football record for most catches for a non-rookie after a season with 0 catches. He had 98 receptions at the end of the 2006 season (which was the most in the NFC for that year), after 0 in 2005. The previous record was 92 catches, set in 1960 by Lionel Taylor, playing for Denver in the AFL.
After the 2006 season, Furrey was re-signed by the Lions to a new, three-year contract due to his breakout year. In the 2007 NFL Draft the Lions selected a Wide Receiver, Calvin Johnson, in the first round, the 2nd overall pick in the draft, making Furrey de-facto number three on the depth chart. Furrey would collect 61 catches for 664 yards in the 2007 season.
Notes and references