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Martha Ford Thanks Caldwell For "Exemplary Leadership"

By: Will Burchfield

The Lions fired Jim Caldwell on Monday, but the breakup wasn't bitter.

Caldwell was the Lions' winningest non-interim head coach in the Super Bowl era (36-28 over four seasons) and a consistently strong ambassador for the organization.

Owner Martha Ford, who is close with Caldwell, 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."

Several of the Lions' top players voiced their support for Caldwell following Sunday's season finale.

Said Ziggy Ansah, "I love Jim Caldwell, no doubt about that. He's a great coach, and he doesn't only teach us how to be football players. He teaches us how to be responsible men. It's not all about football. He made us understand that people go through tough times, tougher than this."

Glover Quin characterized Caldwell as a player's coach.

"No question. He takes care of the players. He does everything he can to look out for the players, and it's about more than just being a football coach. He teaches us a lot about life. He's a great role model," said Quin.

Said Golden Tate, "I love who he is as a person, as a coach, the leader he is, the Christian he is, so obviously I want him to stay."

He added, "I'm team Coach Caldwell until I can't be anymore."

That time has come, but it doesn't diminish the imprint Caldwell will leave on the organization or the Detroit community.

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