|Tuesday, December 31
Updated: March 26, 4:47 PM ET
Turnaround this time? Coach, president retained
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Matt Millen and Marty Mornhinweg aren't going anywhere, but both hope to change the fortunes of the Detroit Lions.
Detroit Lions chief executive Millen said Tuesday that Mornhinweg, with the blessing of team owner William Clay Ford Sr., would return as coach in 2003.
Millen said Ford told him earlier that his job also was safe.
Detroit has gone 5-27 under Millen and Mornhinweg over the past two seasons, a .156 winning percentage that is the worst for such a span in franchise history. That includes an unprecedented road record of 0-16.
"I know it has looked ugly and I know this is a results-oriented type business," Millen said. "I know we've had five wins in the last two seasons and I understand that completely.
"There are reasons for those things. Some of them are controllable, some of them are not controllable. But I think we fight it, move forward and fight with conviction. And, of course, we need to get some players and make some corrections. Part of it is that we need to play better ... part of it is, we need to coach better and be coached better."
The Lions went 3-13 this season, losing their last eight.
Millen offered few details of his discussions with Ford, who said two weeks ago that he would decide on his and Mornhinweg's future after the season.
Ford was on vacation in Florida and unavailable for comment Tuesday. But he hinted at his sentiments when he told players and coaches before they upset New Orleans in Week 4 that he expected Morninweg to stay on as coach "for a long time."
"I did not make a case" for keeping his own job or Mornhinweg's, Millen said. "Mr. Ford has to make his decision for his reasons and he did."
Millen said Ford hadn't set specific goals for him and Mornhinweg for next season.
"For myself and those of us who are involved in this, we understand," Millen said. "Nobody is going in with their eyes closed. It is a result-oriented business. The results have not been good and we have to change that. If it doesn't change, we move from there."
Mornhinweg's record matches Chris Palmer's 1999-00 showing with the Cleveland Browns as the worst two-year stretch for a new coach since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
Palmer, though, was coaching an expansion team. Mornhinweg took over a team that went 9-7 and narrowly missed the playoffs.
Mornhinweg never had been a head coach at any level. He was widely criticized this season for choosing to take the wind instead of the ball after the Lions won an overtime coin toss in a game against Chicago. The Bears got the kickoff and drove to the winning field goal.
Millen, who won four Super Bowl rings with three teams as a linebacker, never held a front-office position before quitting his job as a TV analyst to join the Lions in January 2001.
His low point this season might have been when he called a player a "devout coward" on a radio show.
When Mornhinweg was hired, he did not hesitate to set his sights on the Super Bowl, a game in which Detroit never has played.
"The bar is high," he said. "The goal for this organization is to win Super Bowls."
Detroit has one playoff victory since winning the 1957 NFL title. Ford bought the team six years later.