Lions Move On Without Millen

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Lions tried to conduct business as usual, insisting Matt Millen's firing didn't change their jobs or mind-set.
Detroit practiced Monday for the first time since the 2000 season without Millen in charge.
"My route has not changed," coach Rod Marinelli said. "It's tough on everybody, but you move on."
Quarterback Jon Kitna said the move doesn't remove a cloud over the team.
"Our cloud is being 0-3," Kitna said. "The other stuff, if you want it to be a distraction, you can, but you have to be a pro. Our problem right now is players haven't done what's necessary on the field.
"Unfortunately, that cost a man his job and you should take that a little personal."
Millen was fired as team president last week with an NFL-worst 31-84 record over the past seven-plus seasons. The decision came after an awful start led to Bill Ford, the owner's son, telling reporters he wanted Millen to leave.
"The biggest thing on your mind is to get your team refocused and moving forward," Marinelli said.
Marinelli is sticking around for now and avoiding questions about his status as a lame-duck coach.
"I had a chance to talk to Mr. Ford and everything is zeroed in on the Chicago Bears," Marinelli said when asked about the likelihood of the next general manager hiring another coach to replace him.
The Lions are an NFC-worst 10-25 since 2006 under Marinelli, whose record is a half-game worse than Scott Linehan's mark was when he was fired Monday by the St. Louis Rams.
Marinelli seemed to sidestep Millen's firing when he talked to the team for the first time since the move was made last Wednesday, when the players began their bye-week break.
"You guys already addressed it," Marinelli told reporters. "You don't need to state the obvious. You just get back to business. He's not here. He's removed. I think everybody liked Matt, but it's the nature of the business."
Receiver Roy Williams is usually talkative in the locker room, but he matter of factly said he wasn't interested in sharing his reaction to Millen getting fired.
"What's the point in talking about it?" Williams asked. "I'm not going to talk about Matt Millen today or any day."
Center Dominic Raiola said he talked to Millen on Monday.
"He said he'll take the blame for us not winning, but he'll stand by this team and the guys he brought here," Raiola said. "I have a lot of respect for him. He did a lot as a player, but it just didn't work out here."
Detroit's next game is Sunday at home against the Bears (2-2), who are tied with the Green Bay Packers atop the lackluster NFC North.
While the perception is that the Lions' season is essentially over, they don't see it that way.
"The reality is, we're in a division that doesn't have anybody over .500 right now," Kitna said.
Marinelli declined to comment on possible lineup changes, but did say Kitna appeared healthy after injuring his right knee in the previous loss to the San Francisco 49ers.


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