Around the NFL  

 

Lions fire GM Martin Mayhew, president Tom Lewand

Print

This season, owners have proven they are not afraid to make major staff changes in the middle of the madness, but the Lions have just set the bar.

The team has fired general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand, Lions owner Martha Ford announced Thursday.

Sheldon White, Lions vice president of pro personnel, is taking over as interim GM, and Allison Maki is the team's new COO, per Ford. Maki has previously been Lions Senior Vice President, Administration and Chief Financial Officer.

"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 clear that we have no intention on giving up on the season."

The news comes just a week after the team dismissed offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and installed Jim Bob Cooter in the same role. The Lions went on to get pummeled 45-10 in London by the Kansas City Chiefs to fall to 1-7, leaving many to wonder if head coach Jim Caldwell was next in the purge. Instead, ownership was looking at the offices on the next floor up. Caldwell has been told he is still the team's coach, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Ford later confirmed that changes won't be made to the coaching staff.

Mayhew has been the team's general manager since 2008, taking over for the disastrous Matt Millen. After swinging a few successful trades, including an outright fleecing of the Dallas Cowboys for Roy Williams, Mayhew led the Lions to their first playoff appearance since 1999 in 2011.

The team reached the playoffs again in 2014 and lost in the wild-card round.

Success was fleeting, though, and a roster believed to be populated with star players began to show signs of serious aging in 2015. A bare-bones offensive line has struggled to keep Matthew Stafford afloat. Second-year tight end Eric Ebron is just now rounding into the player the Lions had hoped he'd be.

The team cannot seem to find room for Calvin Johnson in their offense anymore and Golden Tate -- one of the league's most productive receivers a year ago -- has been nonexistent. It didn't take long for Tate to react to Thursday's stunning development:

On defense, the struggles have been magnified as well. The Lions have given up 30 or more points in half their games this season and have not come close to replicating the production seen when Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ziggy Ansah played together. Suh's replacement, Haloti Ngata, is in his 10th NFL season and missed two games this year with hamstring issues. He has one sack.

Suh's departure seems to have signaled a logical resetting period for the franchise, which will likely bring sweeping changes across the board. Changing general managers at this point in the season likely means the team will not be afraid to make alterations to their draft board and scouting staff. Typically, when new general managers take over, they do so after a season and are at the whim of a scouting board already in progress.

Making the change on Nov. 5, though, is startling. What is next for the Lions?

Print

Fan Discussion