The Detroit Lions have fired general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand, reports ESPN Adam's Schefter. Mayhew has been with the Lions since 2001 and has served as the team's general manager since Matt Millen was fired in 2008. Lewand was named team president in 2008 as well.
Sheldon White will take over as the Lions' interim general manager, owner Martha Ford announced Thursday. White was acting as team's vice president of pro personnel, and was a cornerback for the Lions from 1990 to 1992. Deposed GM Martin Mayhew praised White in February, calling him an "outstanding evaluator."
Ford also announced that Allison Maki, the Lions' chief financial officer, will take over as the interim chief operating officer.
Jim Caldwell was informed that he is still the team's head coach, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Ford confirmed that no changes to coaching staff were being made at this time.
"Our fans deserve a winning football team and we will do everything possible to make it a reality," Ford said. "I also want to make clear that we have no intention of giving up on the season. We expect our team to compete, improve and win."
The news comes less than two weeks after the decision to fire offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. The Lions fell to 1-7 on Sunday after their disastrous 45-10 loss to the Chiefs. They're on a bye this week.
"Everybody's involved in what has happened thus far this season, especially myself," Mayhew said in October of the Lions' struggles. "I'm responsible for our football operations, so it is on me what has happened this season. So it certainly is not those three guys (that were fired) are not the problem, they're not the sole problem. There's a lot of things we need to do to get better."
Mayhew took over during the Lions' winless 2008 season, the first time an NFL team has ever gone 0-16. Although the Lions made the playoffs twice (2011, '14) during Mayhew's tenure, they put up losing seasons the four other years he was at the helm. Detroit hasn't won a playoff game since the 1991 season, and Mayhew failed to draft high-impact players who could turn the team's fortunes around:
Lions haven't drafted a Pro-Bowl player in the past 5 drafts. No player they drafted in 2010-2011 is on their roster today.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 5, 2015
The team is owned by the Ford family, with 90-year-old Martha Ford serving as majority owner and chairman.
"She is [in charge]," Martha's son, Bill Ford Jr. said last month, via ESPN. "She is, and since my dad died, I've been less involved with the Lions and the NFL. She is very much in charge, and she's got the decision-making role."
The role apparently includes going around and firing whoever she wants.
#Lions source on the firings today: "Total wipeout." Apparently, bosses are going through the building deciding who stays and goes.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 5, 2015
According to the Detroit Free Press, Sheila Ford Hamp, vice chairman and one of Martha's three daughters, will be taking on a "prominent role" with the team.
With the worst record in the league, the Lions are currently in line for the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was drafted first overall in 2009, has struggled this season and his future in Detroit could be in doubt, according to Rapoport. Stafford's contract is up in 2018 and he carries $22.5 million cap hit next year and $22 million in 2017, leaving the Lions with a few options on how to deal with their longtime quarterback.
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