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Money not the reason Lions didn't hire Martz
Friday, February 03, 2006
By Tom Kowalski
DETROIT -- There were clues all along that the marriage between the Detroit Lions and Mike Martz wasn't going to happen. The relationship came to an official end on Thursday in the classic "he said, they said" dispute.
Martz, the former St. Louis Rams head coach, did not sign a contract to become the Lions' offensive coordinator because, according to his camp, the team refused to increase their offer from $1 million per year for three seasons to $1.5 million per year.
"We couldn't come to an agreement on terms. I really do feel bad . . . but we just couldn't get on the same page," Martz said in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Sources close to the situation, though, said money wasn't the deal-breaker for the Lions. Instead, new head coach Rod Marinelli simply didn't feel comfortable enough with Martz as the coordinator.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Marinelli spoke highly of Martz and his coaching ability. Marinelli said he didn't feel threatened by Martz's strong personality or history of clashes with members of the Rams front office.
After the press conference, however, Marinelli said he had yet to offer the job to Martz and wanted more time to ponder the decision.
"I think it's important to step back and see the whole thing," Marinelli said on Wednesday. "I've got to make sure everything is right, that the fit is right. I just don't think that you talk, talk, talk (then) make a decision. I just want a chance to think this thing through and feel good about it. We're talking and we'll see how the whole thing works out.
"It's my decision."
Sources indicate the Lions did more research on Martz's background with the Rams, where he spent the previous seven years as both offensive coordinator and head coach. That may have finalized Detroit's decision.
Lions vice president of communications Bill Keenist said the team would not have a comment on the coaching search.
There is no indication of where the Lions will turn to next in their quest for an offensive coordinator, but they have had previous contact with former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Tom Rossley and Cincinnati Bengals receivers coach Hue Jackson.
During his talk on Wednesday, Marinelli left open the possibility that the Lions would have to move on without Martz.
"There are quite a few men I have had the chance to talk with, but I'm moving slowly on them. There are a couple of guys I spoke with already and we'll see how this one works and go from there," said Marinelli, adding that he was in no hurry.
"So I will step back and kind of keep plugging away until . . . and it may be an unknown (candidate) or it may be (Martz). But it's got to be the right guy. I've got to energize that group. I want to get somebody to come in and just energize the guys, do things that make us special and be a good teacher who maintains a good tempo in practice."
Marinelli also wants to find a coordinator who will buy into his program and his philosophy of physical-first football. Marinelli believes the Lions, to become a winning program, need direction, discipline and leadership, and he wants everybody in the organization on the same page.
"I'm willing to wait as long as it takes to find the right man," Marinelli said. "I want to make it right. I don't want anybody to rush me into a decision before I'm ready. Then I'll make a mistake for our team. I'm going to try my hardest not to make a mistake for this football team."
Marinelli's decision on Thursday was that Martz wasn't the right man for the job.
Re: Money not the reason Lions didn't hire Martz
Makes a lot of sense to me. THe lions have lots of problems, laying out money isnt one of them. This is what i meant yesterday by the situation not reflecting well on martz. The impression of wanting more money and power fuels the speculation that he is difficult to control as a member of management and that his ego stands in the way of getting along with others. I am not suggesting all of that is true, only pointing out the perception.
I am a huge coach martz fan. However, i have always believed that there was a lot more going on at rams park than meets the eye. As messed up as the situation appeared, my gut tells me it was actually worse. Owners in all types of businesses have a tendency to shy away from guys that dont have the appearance of being a team player. Whoever hires martz as a head coach better be ready to really give him control or the situation may well repeat itself.
ramming speed to all
Re: Money not the reason Lions didn't hire MartzSources indicate the Lions did more research on Martz's background with the Rams, where he spent the previous seven years as both offensive coordinator and head coach. That may have finalized Detroit's decision.