Lions firing reactions: 'No one is safe'

- UPDATE (11 p.m.)  Tom Lewand released a statement late Thursday night:

"I want to thank Mrs. Ford and her family for the opportunity to serve the Lions organization and its great fans.

I'm 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.

I have tremendous respect and appreciation for the dedicated players, coaches, and former colleagues who make the Lions and Ford Field special and wish all of them great success now and in the future."

-Tom Lewand, former president

The Detroit Lions sent shockwaves through the metro area and NFL Thursday.

With firings of team president Tom Lewand and General Manager Martin Mayhew, owner Martha Firestone Ford made it clear that the 1-7 record was unacceptable.

In a text message to Dan Miller, Mayhew thanked the organization and Ford family.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this organization, this community and the Ford Family," Mayhew said. "I wish the team the absolute best this season and in the future"

DetroitLions.com beat writers Mike O'Hara and Tim Twentyman spoke about the shake-up with FOX 2's Dan Miller.

Twentyman said he got Mayhew's reaction through a text conversation on Thursday, he said.

"He told me 'You can't keep a job with one win,'" Twentyman said. "I think he was very realistic about how this team played, how it got off and I think this is a clear indication from Martha Firestone Ford that she is not a patient woman - certainly not as much as her late husband."

While it is tough day for the organization, the day also represents the chance for hope by the fans.

"You can look at personnel decisions and all that and the mistakes that were made which might have changed the present and future of the franchise," O'Hara said. "Nobody is happy about it. But Martha Ford was not going to sit and watch this happen like her husband did. You (could) say reset button I say eject button."

 

Twentyman spoke about what happens now.

"(The next move) has to be the right one," he said. "These are the guys that are going to guide the whole organization from the business aspect to the on the field aspect. I think the Ford family is going to get some help from the NFL, some young guys, some experienced guys to help them along the way."

O'Hara said he has seen changes with the franchise before, but this one is different.

"It feels different because there is more change coming," O'Hara said.

Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski also weighed in, saying that the firings made a statement that Martha Firestone Ford is not her husband.

"William Clay Ford Sr. would let something like this go on for years," Wojo said. "She's been in charge for a year and a half, coming off an 11-5 season and to make this move, I think that's the statement.

"She is her own person, she is impatient and I think that's good."

Wojo also spoke about the national search that was trumpeted in the prepared statement.

"This was the easy part to tell someone they are fired," he said. "Finding the next guy is a difficult thing. Unknown is who is advising her and where are they going to look. We've heard before that they were going to find the right guy don't worry and it hasn't happened. That's the part I want to see that's different."

Wojnowski said that Lewand, who had been with the Lions 20 years, was emblematic of the "loyalty program" the franchise seemed to adhere to.

"It wasn't about winning now, it was more of a loyalty program," Wojo said. "I think it is fascinating and I applaud what she did, acting swiftly and didn't let any rumors twisting. But now comes the hard part."
 

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