Lions’ owner: Millen, Marinelli probably weren’t ready

Lions owner William Clay Ford spoke publicly for the first time since firing general manager Matt Millen and head coach Rod Marinelli after a winless 2008 season, telling Tom Kowalski of that the two probably weren’t ready for the job.

According to the report, Ford said he wasn’t sure Marinelli “was quite ready to be a head coach” and admitted that Millen didn’t have the experience to be a successful GM:

“He knows the game, obviously, and knew talent. Maybe he was a little precipitous on some of his judgments — I’m second-guessing him — but it didn’t work out. He understood completely. There was no bitterness or rancor on his part. He said ‘No, I can see why you’re doing it and I don’t blame you.’

On the field, the Lions are missing veteran DT Grady Jackson from their final three-day minicamp of the offseason, according to the Detroit Free Press. Jackson, 36, has yet to take part in on-field workouts with the Lions since having knee surgery in mid-February.

The Free Press reports that the Lions are taking it slow with Jackson, who signed a three-year, $8 million deal in March:

“We’re probably a little bit behind schedule with it,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “We were shooting to have him on the field now. But the one thing you don’t want to do in a situation like that, particularly now when we’re not playing games, is rush it when it shouldn’t be rushed and all of a sudden you have a setback. At this point in the year, we want to avoid setbacks.”

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