Lions Notebook: Kitna Voices Displeasure

The only one unhappy following Tuesday's transactions was quarterback Jon Kitna.

The Detroit Lions look dramatically different after trade deadline day. They sent wide receiver Roy Williams to the Dallas Cowboys and put quarterback Jon Kitna on injured reserve.

Everyone with the team seemed ecstatic over the Williams move. The Lions stockpiled draft picks so they can build for the future, getting first-, third- and sixth-round picks for Williams and a seventh-round pick. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones got a receiver he had coveted for years. Williams got to go home to Texas and told reporters in Dallas he was more happy than when he got his first bike.

But Kitna was not so happy about going on IR. He told Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom the Lions told him not to travel for Sunday's game at Minnesota and they were going to look at three options: giving him a couple weeks to heal, putting him on IR or trading him.

"When they just stop talking to you, you know something is wrong," Kitna told Albom. "But they created a perception in the building that I'm a selfish player, and that bothers me. I have played my whole career putting the team first, and that really stinks to me."

General manager Martin Mayhew, who took over after president Matt Millen was fired last month, said in a news conference Monday that he didn't plan on trading anyone -- including Williams -- and had not gotten any firm offers for any players.

Mayhew said Tuesday he had not been lying or posturing. For months, the Lions said they were not shopping Williams but would listen to offers for him as they would any other player, and Monday, Mayhew allowed for the possibility of a deal if the offer were "very interesting."

"I absolutely had no intention to go out and trade Roy Williams," Mayhew said. "But again, like I said, as the steward for this franchise, you listen. And so I was open to listening to offers."

Mayhew said that as he spoke to the media Monday, the Lions received a firm offer from the Cowboys. He said he then went back to the five or six teams that had showed interest, then called Williams.

"I called Roy last night," Mayhew said, "because I had told Roy we weren't going to shop him, but if things got interesting I would give him a call."

Talks continued Tuesday morning, with Mayhew in Detroit and chief operating officer Tom Lewand at NFL meetings in St. Petersburg, Fla., with Jones.

Mayhew said he wasn't optimistic early in the afternoon, when he called Williams again.

"I called him today around 1 to tell him we had talked to a few clubs but nobody had really blown my socks off and that he should plan on being here," Mayhew said.

Mayhew said the Cowboys called him with their final offer about 3:20 p.m. He said he gave them permission to speak to Williams' agent about 3:30 p.m.

"We agreed on the terms, and then they spoke to Roy's agent and agreed on some parameters," Mayhew said. "And once they were comfortable with those parameters, they called us back and then we had a deal."

Mayhew said that was about 3:45 p.m. The NFL trade deadline was 4 p.m.

"It went down to the end," Mayhew said.


The tension between Kitna and
Detroit's coaching staff has
been evident this year.
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Mayhew said Kitna voiced no disagreement when Mayhew, Kitna and coach Rod Marinelli met at 8:30 a.m.

"We talked about it, told him our decision, and he did not say he had any problem with it," Mayhew said. "I think a lot of times the doctor has a better timetable as to how long it takes to recover from something actually than the patient may have sometimes. Our doctors felt like it could be awhile here."

Mayhew said there is "no chance" the Lions will part with Kitna before the end of the season.

"He's under contract next year," Mayhew said, "and we'll figure out what's going to happen next year."

Asked if the Lions tried to trade Kitna, Mayhew said: "I'm not going to comment on any other exploratory talks we had with our players. We talked to a lot of clubs, and it's all confidential. There's some names that I could throw out there that have been mentioned to me over the last couple days that would surprise you."

Notebook:

  • S Gerald Alexander on injured reserve Monday because of a neck injury he suffered late in Sunday's 12-10 loss at Minnesota. "Evaluation of Alexander's condition and treatment options are ongoing and additional information regarding his injury will be made at the appropriate time," the Lions said in a statement.
  • Rod Marinelli did not criticize the officiating. But he said cornerback Leigh Bodden did what he was supposed to do when he was flagged for pass interference late in Sunday's game, setting up the winning field goal. "In terms of how we coach him, I thought he was in good position," Marinelli said. "He snapped his head well. ... That's what we teach. Snap his head back and go up for the ball."
  • QB Dan Orlovsky made an embarrassing mistake in his first NFL start Sunday at Minnesota, running out of bounds at the back of the end zone for a safety, and he led the Lions to only 10 points. But he drew praise for not turning over the ball while under so much pressure. He took six sacks.
  • FB Moran Norris signed Monday, taking the open roster spot left by S Gerald Alexander.
  • CB Travis Fisher dressed but did not play Sunday because of a bruised knee. He was going for a second opinion Monday.
  • WR Calvin Johnson's condition was not updated Monday. He suffered what appeared to be a concussion when he took a helmet-to-helmet hit Sunday.

Lions Report Top Stories