Lions moving on without Millen

When Lions vice chairman Bill Ford, Jr. criticized Matt Millen last week, his popularity in Michigan skyrocketed.

But the Fords, father and son, had quite the week dealing with the former Lions president and CEO, Millen.

At nearly the same time that Ford Jr. stated that Millen should be fired, William Clay Ford, Sr. called Millen to inform him that he was ruminating about whether to keep his president and CEO.

And when Ford Sr. saw the groundswell of support for Millen’s departure, he could not ignore the voice of the fans. Tuesday night, in a telephone conversation that resounded around Michigan, Ford Sr. informed Millen that he would be making a change and relieving him of his duties.

The two met face-to-face at noon Wednesday to make the dismissal official. Of course there still is plenty of work to be done. Ford’s attorneys and Millen’s attorneys will be spending the coming days and weeks trying to reach some type of settlement package. Millen has three years left on his contract, but the sides plan to talk to see if they can instead reach some type of agreement.

The Lions also have had other talks throughout the past week with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who clearly and closely tracks each issue that is important to his league. Goodell continually has checked in with the Lions, getting updates on their situation.

Detroit had been preparing for the events of this past week for the past six years. Some within the organization suspected that Millen’s time could come to an end at any time, and the Lions have done plenty of legwork on legitimate general manager candidates around the league. The Lions now feel they are just where they want to be, which is why they continue to insist that their focus is going to be on this season and their next game against the Chicago Bears.

Everything else is secondary. But that is because the Lions feel so prepared for the GM search they will launch as this season winds down.

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