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QB Harrington faces former team on Thanksgiving

Nov 21, 2006 - 8:38 PM Miami (4-6) at Detroit (2-8) 12:30 pm EST

DETROIT (Ticker) -- Joey Harrington played in a few Thanksgiving games with the Detroit Lions. He returns for the Lions' traditional holiday contest as the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins.

Lions president Matt Millen signed quarterback Jon Kitna as a free agent and then shipped Harrington to Miami last April for a sixth-round pick in 2007.

The third overall pick in the 2002 draft, Harrington was a bust in Detroit, compiling an 18-37 record as a starter. He threw for 10,242 yards and 60 touchdowns with 62 interceptions for a quarterback rating of 68.1

Last season, Harrington completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,021 yards, 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a rating of 72.0.

The Dolphins planned to use Harrington as an insurance policy behind starter Daunte Culpepper, who was coming off reconstructive right knee surgery after being acquired from Minnesota in the offseason.

Culpepper started the first four games, but struggled with his mobility and also suffered a shoulder injury after being sacked 21 times. Dolphins coach Nick Saban determined that Culpepper needed more time to rehabilitate the knee and made Harrington the starter.

After losing their first three games with Harrington at the controls to slip to 1-6, the Dolphins have won three in a row.

Last week, Harrington completed 26-of-42 passes for 254 yards and one touchdown with an interception in a 24-20 win over Minnesota. But it was Miami's defense which accounted for two scores on a 51-yard interception return by defensive end Jason Taylor and a 48-yard fumble return by safety Renaldo Hill.

It was the second interception return for a touchdown this season for Taylor and seventh of his career, tying George Martin's NFL record for the most by a lineman.

Both of the Lions' wins this season have come at home. But they have lost four of their last five Thanksgiving games, although this will be the first for coach Rod Marinelli.

Former coach Steve Mariucci was fired last November, four days after a 27-7 Thanksgiving loss to Atlanta.

The Dolphins have never played here on Thanksgiving. They last played on the holiday in 2003, beating Dallas, 40-21.

The Lions will be without Kevin Jones, who suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter of last Sunday's 17-10 loss at Arizona.

Arlen Harris will start for Jones. Harris rushed for 40 yards on 10 carries after replacing Jones last week.

The absence of Jones will likely make Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz air it out. Roy Williams is enjoying a Pro Bowl-type season with 54 receptions for 867 yards and four touchdowns. Mike Furrey has been one of the league's better complementary receivers with 49 catches for 583 yards and three scores.

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