Detroit Lions: Sheila Ford Hamp deserves a high offseason grade
By Robert Jones
Sheila’s efforts have turned heads
So while the fruits of Sheila’s efforts so far have turned heads around the league, with quite a few insiders, coaches, and even players commenting positively on the Lions new dream team of Holmes, Campbell and their impressive staffs combined with how well they did in the Stafford trade, and it hasn’t stopped there.
Almost as important as the product Sheila is empowering Holmes and Campbell to build on the field, is how she has stepped in and started handling the Calvin Johnson situation.
Last weekend as it was announced that the Lions’ all-time leading receiver will be inducted into Canton, Ohio’s Pro Football Hall of Fame forevermore, Calvin revealed to the public that Sheila had reached out to him and that he was very optimistic that the rift between Johnson’s former employers and himself will be resolved.
One of the black-eyes that the Lions have continually had is alienating their great players. When Barry Sanders abruptly retired, it took some work to heal the relationship between him and his former team.
Johnson’s retirement was marred by Bob Quinn asking Calvin to pay back a one million dollar bonus. While it was within the rights of the Lions to do so, it didn’t make it right.
Former players are the ambassadors of each team. Especially the elite Hall of Fame-caliber players.
Part of building a winning organization is how former players view that team. It sends all the wrong messages to punish your former players instead of celebrating them.
Later this year Calvin Johnson will stand on the steps of the Hall of Fame and will represent the Detroit Lions, whether he likes it or not. Considering that the Motor City is the only place he called home in the NFL, he will be inducted in Honolulu Blue and Silver regardless.
But what a difference it would make to not only have him thank his family, influences, and former teammates, but also Sheila Ford Hamp for reconciling the differences between himself and her team.
There is much work to do before these Lions will be ready to compete for anything meaningful on the field, but the foundation that Sheila has been a big part of laying down is solid. Given some patience and more good work from Brad Holmes and his staff gathering talent and maybe in a few years Motor City fans will have what they have been searching for all their lives; a winner.
If that’s the case, then fans will need to remember that Sheila Ford Hamp deserves credit for putting in the effort to make it possible.