(ALLEN PARK, MI)--In his final press conference of the season, Marty Mornhinweg announced the retirement of Todd Lyght, a 12-year corner who started most of the season for Detroit and Richard Selcer, Detroit's special team coach. He also thanked the fans for their support saying that the coaching staff and players appreciated the fan support.
Mornhinweg also announced several individual team awards for the season but the question that everyone wanted the answers to were evaded. Regarding his personal situation as head coach Mornhinweg said that he had not spoken to Lions owner William Clay Ford, Sr. as of the time of the press conference. "Myself and this staff are going about our business. This is my job. This is what I'm paid to do. We've already started the process of evaluating our players."
"I'm not going to defend anything," Mornhinweg said in reply to a question about his 5-27 record compiled over the last two years. "I'm not going to lobby or anything like that. We're moving ahead. We've got our plans and we're into that."
" I think there's an outstanding outlook for this team in the near future," said Mornhinweg. "I certainly think we're ready to take the next step in this process of building a football team. That step certainly is winning games. We've certainly been competitive against some of the best teams in this league. Certainly that is the first step, to be competitive. The second step certainly is to win games. The third step is handling how to handle and the next step is getting yourself up into that position to make a run and then multiple runs."
Mornhinweg said he believed the Lions are now ready to move into building a team and away from the tearing down phase of getting rid of players who no longer fit into the team. Mornhinweg also said the amount of young players getting experience this year was invaluable. He also said that free agency and the draft would cause the team to still have some player movement.
Mornhinweg said the next phase in building the team would be harder. "It ain't getting easier. It gets harder. The decision making process that we're going to be going through in the next couple of years, the acquisition of free agents, the draft situation, all of those are going to be extremely important. Every decision made is critical."
He further said that Detroit still needs playmakers. "Without being real specific, because we are going through the evaluation process now, we need playmakers. We need the players that are going to prevent touchdowns and prevent those big plays. On the other side we need those players that can make two or three guys miss and 'take it to the house'. Those kinds of players [that are going to] score touchdowns for us."
The winners of post season are;
Bobby Layne offensive MVP: James Stewart
Lem Barney defensive MVP: Chris Claiborne
Yale Lary special teams MVP: Jeff Gooch
Erik Andolsek offensive lineman of the year: Ray Brown
Mel Farr rookie of the year award: Eddie Drummond
Joe Schmidt leadership award: Corey Harris
Mike Utley spirit award: Cory Schlesinger
Chuck Hughes most improved award: Dominic Raiola