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Lions To Put Millen In Charge

The Detroit Lions, who never have been to the Super Bowl, are turning to the only player who has won it four times with three teams.

Matt Millen will be hired as president and general manager of the Lions, an NFL source said Friday.

"It should happen early next week," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Calls Friday to Millen's home went unanswered.

Lions owner William Clay Ford has been out of town and was expected to return at the beginning of the week to announce Millen's appointment.

Detroit has not won a championship since 1957 nine years before the first Super Bowl and has won only one playoff game since then.

The Lions have allowed their coaches - Wayne Fontes, Bobby Ross and Gary Moeller - to run the football operation since Russ Thomas resigned as general manager after the 1989 season.

The organization was interested in hiring the former NFL linebacker and TV commentator two years ago, but Millen asked to be removed from consideration.

Change has swept through the Lions in recent months, and that is expected to continue when Millen assumes his position next week.

The Lions fired their offensive and defensive coordinators along with their receivers coach after being eliminated from the playoffs by losing to Chicago in the regular-season finale.

Ross resigned as coach after Detroit lost three straight to drop to 5-4. Moeller was given a 2 1/2-year contract and led Detroit to a 9-7 finish.

It is not known what Millen will do with Moeller or with the organization's seven vice presidents.

Detroit's Robert Porcher hopes Moeller is retained.

"I think he's the right man for the job," Porcher told the Detroit News. "Hopefully, the powers that be will think that he is, too."

Bryant Westbrook echoed his teammate's comments.

"They're not going to get rid of coach Moeller, are they?" Westbrook said. "I hope they don't. In this day and age, players listen to and play for guys like him. He loves the game, which helps him motivate us."

Offensive line coach Pat Ruel is one of the remaining assistants wondering about the future.

"Do we know what our future is now? No," Ruel said Friday. "But it was refreshing to talk to (Moeller) this morning. We talked about how there's things you can't control, but you can control how hard you work. We have to keep trying to make this organization a success.

"Some ask why players and coaches make so much money, well this is your answer. You've got to produce, and you've got do so quickly. You can't just win, you have to win championships. e're not running a distance race anymore, we're running sprints. You have to get out of the blocks strong and finish strong."

Millen has been an NFL analyst for Fox Sports since 1994 and worked for CBS the two previous years. He also is the No. 1 analyst for CBS Radio Sports' NFL broadcasts.

The former Penn State standout was an NFL linebacker from 1980-91 with the Oakland/L.A. Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins.

"He's got a great reputation," Ruel said. "He's well-connected, he's intelligent and he played this game at a high level."

Fox Sports officials told the News that Millen had agreed to a four-year, $12 million contract.

"There's no announcement forthcoming," Lions spokesman Steve Reaven said Friday. "Until something is known, there's nothing more we can say from our end."

©2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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