Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand owe Detroit Lions fans an apology

Lewand and Mayhew

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By letting Ndamukong Suh walk, the Detroit Lions have managed to let one of the most dominant defensive players in team history slip away without getting anything more than a compensatory draft pick in 2016. Lions fans have once again had the wool pulled over their eyes and this time somebody owes them an apology. That somebody is actually two people, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand.

How could they have been so confident?

Over the past year, Mayhew and Lewand have told anyone who would listen that they were confident Suh would be playing football for the Lions in 2015 and beyond. Many of those listening were fans of the Detroit Lions, and quite frankly, a good deal of those fans bought into what the Lions’ brass was selling.

“I anticipate we’ll get something done. He has said he wants to be here, we’d like him to be here. That’s my mindset right now.’’ Mayhew said in February of 2014.

Well, it is safe to say you anticipated incorrectly Mr. Mayhew because Suh has agreed to a contract with the Miami Dolphins and not with the Lions like you told us he would. By the way, thanks for going out and drafting a tight end with the 1oth overall pick of the 2014 draft, that made a ton of sense. How about showing a bit of foresight that Suh would probably walk and draft his eventual replacement, I don’t know, maybe Pro-Bowl rookie Aaron Donald? Hindsight is 20/20, but very few people on the planet Earth agreed with drafting a tight end in that spot.

Mr. Lewand, did you really believe that you would get a deal done with Suh even when negotiations fell apart last year before training camp? The clues were there, you failed to put them together.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations over the off-season. Every one of the contract negotiations is different. In light of where we are and most importantly in light of getting ready for the season and keeping the focus where it should be, we’ve decided to table the discussions with Ndamukong on any further discussions until after the season.’’ Lewand said at the start of training camp last season.

Suh never wanted to stay in Detroit

I’m not sure what Suh was saying to Lewand and Mayhew behind closed doors and I may never find out, but did anyone ever have the feeling that he was really going to stay in Detroit? When Suh was asked in December of 2014 about where he would be playing in 2015 he did not show much love for the Lions.

“It’ll be Jimmy’s decision, so we’ll go with that,” Suh said, “You can call Jimmy if you want to.”

“Jimmy” of course, is Jimmy Sexton, Suh’s agent. Don’t you think that if he really wanted to stay in Detroit that he would have said so? I get the whole cat and mouse game, but this was clearly a man that was more interested in testing free agency than staying with his current team.

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Asked later about the possibility of playing his final home game in Detroit, Suh said:  “No clue. It’s not my decision.”

Yet another clue that Mayhew and Lewand chose to overlook. You are telling me that they actually believed this line of garbage? This is painful to even think about. Suh wanted to test free agency from the get-go and I applaud him for trying to make the money while he can. I mean who knows how long his career will last? That is not the problem here. The problem is that Mayhew and Lewand were blinded by thoughts of rainbows and puppy dogs and failed to see the inevitable, or even the chance of it.

An apology is in order

Mr. Lewand and Mr. Mayhew, you kicked the can and then kicked the can some more until finally you hit a wall. You failed to prepare for the possibility of life after Suh and now it is staring you right in the face. So please tell us, what are you going to do about it?

Please do not try to convince us that this was your plan all along because it was obviously not. Definitely do not tell us this is Suh’s fault because that is not true either. In fact, he is free to do whatever he chooses. It was up to you, Mr. Lewand and Mr. Mayhew to see this moment coming and you failed miserably.

To be honest, the only thing we want you to do is apologize and move on. Apologize to the millions of Lions fans and the city of Detroit for once again dropping the ball. After you do that we will be able to move on together once again, because after all, Lions fans are the most forgiving fans in all of sports. We have proven that time and time again.

The opportunity is still there

Luckily for everybody involved, the Lions now have cap room to use in free agency and they also have the NFL draft right around the corner. Those are two golden opportunities to make moves that will help them get over the hump and finally win a playoff game.

If Lewand and Mayhew can go out and pick up some key players in free agency, and then dominate the NFL draft, the healing process will have begun. But even then, unless the Lions continue on the path that they were on last year and even take it a step further, somebody will have to answer some tough questions.


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