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Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Is Ford Jr. now in charge?

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

At this point, we're not sure how the Detroit Lions will spin the decision to part ways with president/general manager Matt Millen. It's a sensitive issue with no shortage of familial dysfunction clouding the picture.

Nevertheless, it's fair to wonder what Millen's departure means for the most fundamental way the Lions have operated under owner William Clay Ford. Namely: Did his son, Bill Ford, Jr., in essence take control of the franchise this week?

As you recall, Ford Jr. said Monday that he would fire Millen if he had the authority. At the time, he did not. His father has run the team with an autocratic hand for years. According to multiple reports, he had tuned out his son's suggestions to fire Millen.

Something changed between Monday and Wednesday. From one angle, Ford Jr.'s public statement can be viewed as a power play that embarrassed his father and forced his hand. Millen might not have made it to the 2009 season regardless, but it's difficult to imagine him leaving this week had it not been for Ford Jr.'s public outburst.

As the days, weeks and months pass, it will be interesting to see if this event represents a one-day blip in the Ford family hierarchy -- or if it will go down as a coup d'etat.