Lions fire GM Martin Mayhew, president Tom Lewand(TKS Danny)

  • Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford, citing her family’s disappointment in the franchise’s 1-7 start this season, fired team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew on Thursday.

The changes come less than a week after Mayhew said the franchise would be buyers at the trade deadline and then made no moves in either acquiring or trading players. The Lions also suffered a blowout 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in London on Sunday.



“We are very disappointed with the results of the season so far,” Ford said during a 1 minute, 53 second statement Thursday. “And believe a change in leadership was necessary.”

Ford said she informed Lions coach Jim Caldwell there would be no changes to the coaching staff. Sheldon White, the team’s vice president of pro personnel, will be the interim general manager, while chief financial officer Allison Maki will be the acting chief operating officer. Both will report to Ford.

These moves come a little more than a week after the Lions fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan.

“I want to assure our fans that we intend to identify and hire the very best leadership in order to produce a consistently winning football team,” Ford said. “Our fans deserve a winning football team. And we will do everything possible to make it a reality.

“I also want to make it clear that we have no intention of giving up on the season. We expect our team to compete and improve and win.”

Ford took no questions after her statement. The Lions said they expect to make White available to the media for the first time next week after the team returns from being off this weekend.

The 50-year-old Mayhew was hired by the Lions on an interim basis after the team fired Matt Millen during an 0-16 season in 2008. After the year, Detroit lifted the interim title and made him GM.

He initially hired Jim Schwartz, who led the Lions to the playoffs in 2011, but fired him after the 2013 season and replaced him with Caldwell.

Lewand was hired by the Lions as their team president on Dec. 29, 2008, and worked 20 seasons with the Lions, including six as the team’s president.

“I want to thank Mrs. Ford and her family for the opportunity to serve the Lions organization and its great fans,” Lewand said Thursday night. “I am particularly grateful to Bill Ford for allowing me to be a part of the unique vision he shared with his father to bring the Lions back to Detroit.”

Lewand and Mayhew combined to put together Detroit’s current roster.

Mayhew conceded Friday that he needed to be better in the draft as well. The Lions have no players left on the roster from the 2010 or 2011 drafts — including first-round selectionsNdamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. The Lions have also been unsuccessful with second-round picks, including receivers Titus Young and Ryan Broyles, running back Mikel Leshoure, safetyLouis Delmas and linebacker Kyle Van Noy.

“I gotta do a better job drafting across the board in general,” Mayhew told reporters on Friday. “And by no means do I mean I’ve been outstanding in terms of our draft. We’ve drafted some really good players and we’ve missed on some players. I think if you look around the league, that’s pretty common.

“But we want to be perfect. We want to be perfect.”

Lions receiver Golden Tate seemed shocked by Thursday’s moves, per his Twitter account.
At the time, a major reason the Lions hired Caldwell was his success with the Colts and with quarterback Peyton Manning. The hope from the Lions was that Caldwell could help quarterback Matthew Stafford, who did make the Pro Bowl last season.

The Lions, however, have struggled to find their identity on offense. Stafford is on pace for his worst statistical season in passing yards (2,083 through eight games), and his touchdown-to-interception ratio is on pace (13 touchdowns, 11 interceptions) to be his worst since 2012 (20 touchdown, 17 interceptions).

In addition, the Lions still have the worst rushing attack in the league by almost 15 yards, gaining 69.62 yards per game on the ground (the Browns are second worst at 84 yards per game).

As a player, Mayhew went to Florida State and then was a cornerback for Washington and Tampa Bay. He also went to Georgetown Law School.

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13 Responses to “Lions fire GM Martin Mayhew, president Tom Lewand(TKS Danny)”

  1. Sage says:

    When Caldwell was with the Colts he stood on the sidelines like a cigar store Indian, practically motionless. This was fine since Manning could pick up the slack. Does Caldwell bring anything to the table?

  2. Sage says:

    Anto was asking why no one takes a chance on Tebow.

    Here’s an article about Tebow by someone who gets it. I’ll have to finally read Lewis’ book. First, some quotes:

    The pain of looking bad is worse than the gain of making the best move.”
    ― Michael Lewis, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

    What begins as a failure of the imagination ends as a market inefficiency: when you rule out an entire class of people from doing a job simply by their appearance, you are less likely to find the best person for the job.”
    ― Michael Lewis, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

  3. Danny says:

    Is the mutiny in Philadelphia beginning?

    Long article so here’s the link…

  4. Sage says:

    #FreeWilly For ATL ‏@Joey_Deem 24s25 seconds ago

    Bortles drops back, scrambles and … Interception

  5. lex says:

    question: is there any chance this late in the season that a team would sign tim? he may be already committed to the SEC Network, anyway.

    Thanks all.

    • Danny says:

      Tim’s SEC contract gives him permission to play pro football (any league I presume) at any time. I suppose it would be set us as a leave or something like that. It’s a common arrangement with athletes, especially with Tim’s popularity.

      As far as this season, the only team I think that would sign him for the rest of the season would be the Eagles. He knows the playbook and the team and the coaches know him. It’s a real longshot, like 100-1 if you were asking, but you never know.

      Other teams with greater needs have had opportunities to sign Tim, and could be having success now if they did. For example, the Jags would have won today with Tim as QB. Texans could have really used him too.

      Anyway, that’s my thoughts, others may have some different opinions.

  6. Sage says:

    When the Jags get the breaks someday, they’re gonna be .500. #Believe

  7. lex says:

    Thanks for the detailed response, Danny. Much appreciated.

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