|Detroit won 10 games last season after going 0-16 the year before Schwartz arrived. (US PRESSWIRE)|
When Jim Schwartz arrived in Detroit in early 2009, the Lions were fresh off an 0-16 effort. Rod Marinelli had been canned and Schwartz, previously the Titans defensive coordinator, had been brought in to try to clean up the mess created primarily by former team president Matt Millen. Three years later, the Lions have rewarded Schwartz with a multi-year extension, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora has confirmed.
The team's official site first reported the news, relying on a league source instead of getting it straight from the horse's mouth. Turns out, neither the Lions nor Schwartz are interested in discussing the particulars of their financial arrangement. “The next time I comment on my contract will be the first time,” Schwartz has said numerous times, according to the website.
Whatever the deal is worth, Schwartz deserves a lot of the credit for the Lions' turnaround. The team won two games his rookie season, six games in Year 2, and went 10-6 in 2011, finishing second in the division to the Packers and qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 1999 (!). Obviously, general manager Martin Mayhew and quarterback Matthew Stafford have also played critical roles in Detroit's turnaround.
Next up: sustaining the postseason success while limiting the number of players making an appearance on the police blotter. Earlier this offseason, three Lions from the 2011 draft class -- Nick Fairley (twice in two months), Michael Leshoure (he's facing a two-game suspension as a result), and Johnny Culbreath were arrested on drug-related charges. And this week, Aaron Berry was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Lions linebacker Cliff Avril said recently that the actions of a few shouldn't reflect on an entire organization.
"You can't label us by a few young guys getting in trouble," Avril said during an appearance on ESPN (via MLive.com). "You can't put that on the other 53 guys on the roster. That makes no sense. Obviously, they are part of the team, but I don't think it's correct to put that on the other 53 guys who are on the roster."
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