Lions owner William Clay Ford inexplicably stood by team president Matt Millen for years, but Ford’s son, team vice chairman Bill Ford Jr., finally spurred his dad to fire Millen in September of 2008. Ford Jr. went public with his frustrations about Millen’s stewardship of the team on September 22, and two days later Ford Sr. finally did what Detroit fans had begged him to do for years and fired Millen.
That suggests that when you’re a member of the Lions organization, your job is in jeopardy if Bill Ford Jr. calls you out publicly. And that’s bad news for the young Lions players who have been getting into trouble this offseason, because Ford Jr. said on WJR in Detroit that he’s fed up with the immaturity from certain members of the Lions, and he expects it to change.
“Unfortunately it’s just a couple guys who are just tainting our whole image,” Ford said. “There’s no question, some of our young guys better get their act together because that’s not the way you become a professional. The good news is we’ve got some great veteran leadership on our team that are great guys and can set the tone and I suspect it’s going to be those veterans who are really going to get these guys back in line.”
Ford didn’t mention by name which guys are tainting the Lions’ image, but he was clearly referring to the three players the Lions drafted in the first two rounds last year: Nick Fairley (who was arrested once this year for marijuana possession and once for drunk driving), Titus Young (who was sent home from Organized Team Activities for sucker punching a teammate) and Mikel Leshoure (who has been arrested twice this year for marijuana possession). It’s very rare for a team to cut a player who’s just a year removed from being a first- or second-round pick, but Ford has put those players on notice: If they don’t shape up, their jobs aren’t safe.