On Monday, just four days following the firing of general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand, Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford met with the players to discuss her expectations moving forward.
The meeting itself lasted for roughly five minutes and during that time Ford was able to introduce the replacements for Mayhew and Lewand while still having time to let the players know that she expects them to start playing better immediately.
Guard Manny Ramirez spoke about the meeting and about what Mrs. Ford had to say to the team.
“She told us what she expects from us and some of the decisions she had to make and all that stuff,” Ramirez said. “And as an owner we respect that as far as her willing to come in and talk to us. So we know where she comes from, what she means. It’s been a long time that we haven’t been able to turn it around here and she wants to see something change and she had to make a big move.”
Linebacker Brandon Copeland also commented on what Mrs. Ford had to say and understands that the NFL is a business and everything is about winning football games.
“We all are adults and we all understand that this is a business,” Copeland said. “And she addressed us and told us, just was very candid with us. She’s still behind us and we have the support, but obviously we need to get things rolling in the right direction.
“She’s the owner and she wants what’s best for this team and this city, the same way all of us in the locker room do, and she was just making sure that we were all on the same page and clear with that. It was a good meeting and get everybody on the same page and shooting in the right direction.”
Defensive end Darryl Tapp knows how important it is for the entire organization to be on the same page and to have the same goals.
“Anytime the owner comes and talks to you it means business,” Tapp said. “But it’s cool from the standpoint that everybody here is on the same page. Regardless of how good it is, how bad it is, we’re all together from the owners to the coaches to the powers that be upstairs to the players. We’re all in this together and that’s the cool aspect about this team. Nobody’s pointing fingers, nobody’s looking for a way out. We still got our oars, still got our buckets, trying to paddle.”
Tapp also added that though Mrs. Ford may be old and small, she definitely means business.
“You’ve got to be leery of these little people,” Tapp said. “My grandma, she’s 87 and she’s this tall (up to my stomach). She’d beat me down right now.
“But no, Mrs. Ford is cool. This is their baby. I mean, this is their family’s baby. This is something they worked hard to have and to own. They want the best product out there and we represent them, we represent the city and we represent ourselves.”
It looks like Mrs. Ford is doing everything in her power to make the Lions organization a winner, and that is all we can ask for as fans. That being said, her next hire may be the most important one she ever makes.
*Credit to Dave Birkett and Carlos Martinez of the Detroit Free Press for all quotes in this story.