McMahon Sounds Off About Decision

Backup quarterback Mike McMahon was not happy with the Lions' decisions to go with QB Joey Harrington, and he made no secret of it to Detroit reporters. The Lions also lost a key defender for the season, may be making an offensive line change and are experiencing a revitalized rushing attack.

QB Mike McMahon said he was not surprised that Lions coach Steve Mariucci decided to stick with Joey Harrington as the starter, but he was clearly agitated that his contract situation might have had a bearing on Mariucci's decision.

McMahon is in the final year of his contract, and it appears unlikely he will be re-signed by the Lions.

As a result, there has been speculation that McMahon would be unlikely to get playing time in the final games of the season because it would not benefit the Lions to give him additional experience.

When Mariucci was asked if McMahon's contract was a factor in his decision, he said: "That's one part of the reality of the situation with our quarterbacks. That is just one part of the equation, that's not the determining factor."

McMahon was not happy when informed what Mariucci had said.

"If San Diego took that approach, I don't think they'd be in the playoffs with Drew Brees, and maybe Shaun Rogers should be on the bench, too," McMahon said. "That's a bull excuse because, I mean, teams want to win now. They don't want to wait ‘til next year to win.

"If you're on a contract, who knows what can happen. I want to stay in Detroit. I've been willing to listen to an offer which was never offered to me in the first place, so if they want to use that as an excuse as well, I've never been offered anything."

Brees is in the final year of his contract at San Diego and Rogers, the Lions' defensive tackle and a strong Pro Bowl candidate, also is in the final season of his deal.


Regardless of what happens in the remaining three games of a disappointing 2004 season, the Lions seem to have finally have the foundation for a running game. Not just an average running game but an outstanding running game.

No one expected Kevin Jones to be another Barry Sanders, but his improvement in the last month of the season — since recovering from an early season high ankle sprain and since coach Steve Mariucci started giving him the football more than 12-15 times a game — has been nothing short of astonishing.

Whether it's the rest of the current season or in planning for 2005, Mariucci and president Matt Millen can be reasonably assured they will be able to run the football and be successful doing it.

Jones is averaging nearly 5.8 yards per carry since coach Steve Mariucci made him the go-to back in the Lions' offense five games ago. Jones, getting only limited playing time early in the season, gained just 227 yards on 69 carries (a 3.3-yard average) in the Lions' first eight games. In the last five games he has rushed for 632 yards on 109 carries.


OLB Boss Bailey will finish the season on injured reserve, some four months after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Bailey had hoped to play in the final month of the season but suffered a setback — considered minor, according to the Lions — after Thanksgiving, and the Lions decided to put him on IR.

"Matt (Millen) and I met with him (Wednesday) morning," Mariucci said. "He's going to continue his workouts, his rehab, all that sort of thing. Get ready for the offseason program we're going to have and it'll give us an opportunity to have a vacant spot on our team to see if there's somebody out there available that we'd like to have on our roster."

Bailey, who started every game at the strong-side linebacker last year as a rookie, seemingly was progressing nicely in his rehab program until suffering a setback in late November.

Bailey has had two significant knee surgical procedures. He had the first while playing at Georgia, a factor that might have been responsible for slipping to the Lions in the second round of the 2003 draft.


OG/T Matt Joyce got most of the work with the first offense at LG when the Lions began practicing for their game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. David Loverne has started at LG in the first 13 games and Joyce has played occasionally in relief appearances, but it appears Joyce might get a start.

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