Lions players and staff members descended on the team complex in Allen Park, Mich. Monday waiting for the future of their head coach just hours after a 14 to 13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Jim Schwartz met with Bill Ford at 10:30 a.m., followed by a meeting with the team.
FOX 17′s Steve Amorose is in Allen Park. He tweeted, “Schwartz told team in person today that he was fired. Nate Burleson said it was emotional, Schwartz and players holding back tears. Nothing surprising coming out of Lions locker room. Players say Schwartz firing is an indictment on them too.” Amorose also Tweeted, “Raiola says the team was well aware of the heat Schwartz was under after loss to Ravens. Stephen Tulloch says that while he wanted Schwartz back, the culture has definitely changed with Lions with higher expectations.”
In a press conference following Schwartz’ firing, Tom Lewand, the team president began by saying, “On behalf of the Ford family, I want to thank Jim for the five years of very hard work that he put in and for what he’s contributed to this franchise.”
When Schwartz started as the head coach in 2009, the Lions were just coming off of an 0-16 season.
“We have come some distance since then, ” said Lewand. “But the simple fact is that we have fallen short of the expectations of our ownership, and those expectations are simple – they very strongly want to bring a consistently winning football team to the fans of the city of Detroit. Quite simply, we didn’t win enough football games.”
In the press conference Lewan and Martin Mayhew said that the search has already started for the new head coach. They said that they believe this is the most attractive position in the National Football League and also said that calls are already flooding in.
But, they said hiring a new coach is not that simple.
“It’s bigger than Xs and Os,” said Mayhew. “This guy has to be a leader and has to be able to lead our team.”
Coaching assistants Scott Linehan, the offensive coordinator and Tim Lappano, the wide-receiver coach were also fired while the rest of the assistant coaches remain under contract. Ultimately, Lewand said that the Lions have “some fine coaches on staff,” but the new coach will have the official say on who stays and who goes.
The Lions was one of five NFL teams which fired its coaches: Vikings, Redskins, Buccaneers, and the Browns.