Lions owner says she is still confident in team’s leadership

Oct 25, 2022, 11:57 PM | Updated: Oct 26, 2022, 12:31 pm
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL foo...

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp shared her frustration with the team’s 1-5 record and expressed confidence in the franchise’s leadership.

“We’ve got 11 more games to go, so I just don’t want everyone to push the panic button and give up the ship,” Hamp said to reporters Wednesday while the team practiced. “I think we’ve got the right people in place to pull this off, and I truly believe that. I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t.”

Nearly two years ago during her first season in charge, Hamp fired general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia. After going through a search to hire general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell, she doesn’t sound eager to make another bold move to get rid of either or both.

“I believe in the leadership,” Hamp said when asked if Holmes and Campbell’s jobs were safe regardless of how the season ends.

The Lions gave Holmes his first opportunity to be an NFL general manager in January 2021 and shortly thereafter gave Campbell a second chance after he was briefly an interim coach for the Miami Dolphins.

“What I really have confidence in is the process we went through in the first place when we hired Brad and Dan,” Hamp said. “It was extremely thorough, and we really believe we’ve come up with the right people.”

So far, Holmes, Campbell and their players have not led a turnaround.

“It’s frustrating ” Hamp said. “Am I frustrated? Absolutely. Are the fans frustrated? Absolutely.”

Detroit was 3-13-1 last season, a fourth straight year with double digits in losses, and has lost four straight games after a relatively promising start with a 38-35 loss to Philadelphia and a nine-point win over Washington.

The Lions (1-5) host the Miami Dolphins (4-3) on Sunday.

The 71-year-old Hamp, whose great-grandfather, Henry Ford, founded Ford Motor Co., began attending Lions games when she was 5 and has witnessed decades of futility.

Detroit has one playoff victory since winning the NFL title in 1957, seven seasons before her late father, William Clay Ford, had his first full season as owner.

After he died in 2014, his wife, Martha Firestone Ford, took over the team until stepping aside to have Hamp succeed her as principal owner and chairman in June 2020.

The Lions have tried many times, with various leaders, to build a winner and have failed and yet Hamp insisted this time she can sense success is coming.

“I would say it was like a teardown, and then a rebuild,” she said. “We really had to take it down to the ground level not only the football side, but across the organization.

“I really believe in the top leadership in this organization. I think we’ve got the people to do it, to carry this out. I think that’s what’s different.”

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Lions owner says she is still confident in team’s leadership