Saturday, September 6, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Longtime owner of Detroit Lions dies

WILLIAM CLAY FORD, the owner of the Detroit Lions and last surviving grandchild of automotive pioneer Henry Ford, has died. He was 88.

Ford Motor Co. said in a statement yesterday that Ford died of pneumonia at his home. Ford help steer the family business for more than five decades. He bought one of his own, the NFL franchise in the Motor City, a half-century ago. He served as an employee and board member of the automaker for more than half of its 100-year history.

"My father was a great business leader and humanitarian who dedicated his life to the company and the community," William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. and Lions vice chairman, said in a statement. "He also was a wonderful family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him, yet he will continue to inspire us all."

Ford was regarded as a dignified man by the select few who seemed to know him well. To the masses in Detroit, he was simply the owner of the Lions who struggled to achieve success on the field despite showing his passion for winning by spending money on free agents, coaches, executives and facilities.

Ford's first full season leading the Lions was in 1964, 7 years after the franchise won the NFL title. The only playoff victory he enjoyed was in 1992. The Lions are the only team to go 0-16 in a season, hitting rock bottom in 2008. After an 11-year postseason drought, the Lions improved enough to make the playoffs in 2011 only to lose a combined 21 games over the next two seasons.

 

Noteworthy

* Running back Rashard Mendenhall is retiring from the NFL at the age of 26.

Agent Mike McCartney confirmed via Twitter that Mendenhall had decided to end his playing career after six NFL seasons, all but one of them with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mendenhall, the Steelers' first-round draft pick and 23rd overall selection out of Illinois in 2008, gained 4,326 career yards.

A knee injury limited him to six games with Pittsburgh in 2012. After signing a free-agent contract with Arizona, he was hampered by a toe injury much of last season.

* Baltimore Ravens backup offensive lineman Jah Reid was arrested on two misdemeanor charges of battery in Key West, Fla., early yesterday morning, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's office in Florida.

Reid is the third Ravens player to be arrested in 22 days.

According to the police report, Reid and another man got into a fight at the Red Garter Saloon with several others. The fight then escalated into a confrontation with security officials after they tried to break it up.

* Sam Shields has agreed to re-sign with the Green Bay Packers, keeping one of the top free-agent cornerbacks off the market.

* The New York Jets released cornerback Antonio Cromartie, 29, a decision that saves the team millions of dollars under its salary cap.

* A person with direct knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press that Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen has agreed to terms on a 5-year contract to stay with the team.

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