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Black and Blue all over: Ford speaks

6/25/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Detroit owner William Clay Ford spoke publicly for the first time since the team began its post-Matt Millen overhaul last fall. Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press provides a handy transcript of the session's highlights.

Two things stood out to me the most:

  1. Ford confirmed he has settled a dispute with Millen on the apparent buyout of his contract.

  2. He admitted that commissioner Roger Goodell offered advice and suggestions for replacing Millen. Instead, Ford promoted two internal candidates to fill the role: General manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand.

Ford said Goodell initiated the discussion and they had "three or four conversations" about the jobs.

Ford: "Yes. He offered any help that he could. He was great about it. I said, 'Well, I could use all the help I can get. I'm certainly not going to turn my back on you or anybody.' Then he mentioned a few names, and I investigated those. He couldn't have been nicer about it or really more helpful."

Ford was asked whether he looked into the names Goodell provided.

Ford: "I did check into it, and nothing against any of his suggestions, but I felt I had the right combination here. So why go through the agony of bringing somebody totally new in that to learn what everything was about here? As long as it was in place, I didn't have any problem with it."

To me, it's interesting and not entirely typical for Goodell to insert himself into a process at that level, unsolicited. No doubt, the commissioner thought the Lions could use some help in forging their new path. As has been his policy for most of his tenure, Ford followed his own road.

I don't have anything in particular to nitpick about the job Mayhew and Lewand have done thus far. But it's only natural to question whether the team is headed in a better direction when its essentially under incumbent leadership.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Brian VanOchten of the Grand Rapids Press: "The signs of progress are everywhere on the practice fields and in the locker room at the Detroit Lions' mandatory minicamp. No, seriously."

  • On the second day of their minicamp, the Lions practiced through 89-degree temperatures, writes Terry Foster and John Niyo of the Detroit News. Coach Jim Schwartz: "We embrace it. We are not going to move practices indoors. The last time I checked when 1 o'clock Sunday rolls around and if it is 90 degrees and hot and humid, you still have to play the game. They are not going to move it."

  • Who's next after Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings signed his contract extension? Safety Nick Collins and left guard Daryn Colledge, suggests Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

  • In total, notes Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers have 10 players who are entering the final year of their contract in 2009. Seven are starters.

  • Communication is key in the Packers' new defensive scheme, writes Rob Demovsky of the Press-Gazette.

  • Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman spoke to ESPN 1000 radio about the departure of safety Mike Brown, who signed Wednesday with Kansas City. Tillman: "I'm going to miss him. What else can I say? Everybody knows what Mike Brown stands for, the kind of player he is. I hope he goes to Kansas City and I wish him nothing but the best. I hope he has a great season and a great career there."

  • Retired safety Rodney Harrison has no love for retired quarterback Brett Favre. Speaking on the Dan Patrick radio show, Harrison said: "From the player's I've talked to, a lot of them seem to think Brett Favre is pretty selfish. Each and every offseason bringing so much attention to himself. It's just really a disappointment to hear that time and time again. If you've been in the league 13, 14, 15 years or so you know if you want to play. The circus shouldn't have to go on for three to four years. It's just a disappointment. Then the media they're just so caught up and in love with Brett Favre ... It's ridiculous because a lot of guys are doing good, positive things in the National Football League and those keep things keep getting overlooked."