By: Will Burchfield
Lions owner Martha Ford thanked Jim Caldwell on Monday morning for his leadership as Lions head coach, and on Monday evening Caldwell returned the favor.
The 62-year-old head coach was fired by the team on Monday.
“My wife Cheryl and I greatly appreciate the tremendous opportunity to have been a part of the Lions organization serving as head coach for the past four years,” Caldwell said in a statement released by the team. “We offer our sincere gratitude to Martha Ford, the Ford family and the entire Detroit organization for an abundance of confidence and encouragement during our time with the team.
“I am blessed to have had successful years as a member of the Lions’ organization, and I would be remiss if I did not recognize the great effort put forth by our players and coaching staff who poured their hearts out in an effort to maintain the standard of excellence this organization has grown to expect.
“I wish the Lions, my coaching staff, our players and the loyal Lions fans, who were very supportive, much continued success in the future.”
Caldwell and Ford became close friends during the coach’s four-year tenure in Detroit. Ford released the following statement Monday morning:
“On behalf of my family and the Lions organization I would like to thank Jim Caldwell for his exemplary leadership and service to our team and our community over the past four years.
“I believe Jim is one of the finest leaders we’ve ever had as our head coach. Not only did he guide us on the field to three winning seasons, but he also set a standard of excellence off the field that had a tremendous impact on everyone in our organization and our entire community.
“As many of our players have already said, his influence on them transcended the game of football and will positively serve them throughout their lives.
“Our organization is better because of Jim, and we are forever grateful. We wish Jim, his wife Cheryl and the entire Caldwell family all the best that life can offer.”