January 19, 2006

Lions hope new coach Marinelli can revive franchise

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Detroit Lions hired Rod Marinelli
as coach on Thursday with hopes the former Tampa Bay assistant
can resuscitate the moribund franchise.

"I'm not interested in Pro Bowl players," the 56-year-old
Marinelli told a news conference. "I'm interested in
championship players. That's what I'm going to get."

Marinelli takes over from Dick Jauron, who was 1-4 as the
Lions' interim head coach after Steve Mariucci was fired in

"We knew what we were looking for because we knew what this
football team is and what we need," Lions President Matt Millen
told the news conference in Allen Park, Mich.

"To me, it comes down to a few things. It's got to be
leadership and it's got to be passion. It has to be a
willingness to get to work and get this thing done.

"And we have a lot of work to get done here."

Marinelli said he was undaunted by the task of reviving a
franchise that has gone 21-59 over the last five years. The
Lions were 5-11 last season, including 1-5 in the NFC North.

"I have a background of building every program I've been
in, from start to finish. "I got a chance to build in college,
and obviously in Tampa Bay.

"That's been important to me. I've been the assistant head
football coach in three of those programs. That has prepared me
to be a head football coach because I understand how to build."

Marinelli had been the Buccaneers' defensive line coach for
the past decade after serving as an assistant at three

With Marinelli also holding the title of assistant head
coach, the Buccaneers were 5-11 in 2004 before turning around
to 11-5 this past season.

"It's the untalented issues that I'm really interested in,"
said Marinelli. "There's talent in this league, everybody's got
talent. The issue is how hard are we willing to play."

"Fundamentals, details and learning to finish everything we
start as a football team -- none of that takes any talent."

(Writing by Steve Ginsburg in Washington)