Amid controversy of public scrutiny, and an apparent upper management power struggle, Lions' vice president of player personnel Bill Tobin was fired Friday evening.
Lions' vice president Matt Millen, who made the firing, said he made the decision based upon "philosophic reasons."
Tobin was credited with building the Lions through two consecutive highly rated drafts. He spearheaded the drafting of quarterback Joey Harrington last April despite Millen's wishes to draft defensively, and also found two apparent gems in later-round selections Chris Cash (Cornerback) and John Owens (Tight end).
Tobin's first draft with the team produced solid offensive tackle Jeff Backus, wide receiver Scotty Anderson, among others. His success as the team's draft guru makes his firing that much more bizarre.
Sources suggest that Tobin's firing was due to an apparent "lack of communication" between Tobin and the organization's other departments. Other sources, meanwhile, have remarked that Millen was perturbed with public statements Tobin made criticizing upper management.
Millen denied the decision was made to make Tobin the "scapegoat," thus giving him more time as Vice President.
"Letting Bill Tobin go has nothing to do with . . . I mean, I could still be let go," Millen told the Detroit Free Press. "That's on Mr. Ford. That's his decision, and it should be his decision."
Sheldon White, who currently serves as the director of pro personnel, is the top candidate to replace Tobin. Bill Tobin's firing took place just a few days before the one-year anniversary of his brother Vince Tobin's firing as defensive coordinator.
Under the Millen regime, Detroit has posted a 5-26 overall mark. His job status, along with head coach Marty Mornhinweg, will be evaluated by the Ford family after the season.
More insider analysis forthcoming from Lions' insider
Mike Fowler regarding this situation!