The end of the NFL lockout meant nearly every team making up for lost time in signing free agents.

Those waves were even felt locally, as three former area standouts have signed free-agent deals to begin their professional careers. Tuesday was the first day NFL teams were able to sign undrafted free agents.

Former Texas Southern and Harker Heights linebacker DeJuan Fulghum signed with the Detroit Lions, and will be joined by wide receiver Keith Smith, who starred at Shoemaker and Purdue.

Also, former Copperas Cove and Baylor standout Tim Atchison signed with the St. Louis Rams.

Fulghum, the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year in the Year in 2010, tweeted late Monday “Jus got my call....yo boy will be playin for the Detroit Lions this year.”

Smith also shared the news on his Twitter account, which included thanking Purdue. The former quarterback led the Big Ten in catches and receiving yards as a junior before missing most of 2010 with a knee injury.

Atchison confirmed his signing with the Daily Herald on Tuesday. The three-year starter for the Bears finished second on the team last year with 72 tackles (58 solo).

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