Matt Millen wanted to draft DeMarcus Ware, took Mike Williams
Matt Millen has four Super Bowl rings from a 12-year NFL playing career, but all anyone remembers is that he was the Lions' president during the organization's darkest hours.
Matt Millen has four Super Bowl rings from a 12-year playing career that included stops in Oakland, San Francisco and Washington. But no one remembers that because of what he perpetrated against the Lionsfor eight years as the team's president. He was known for many things during his tenure in Detroit and, none of them good.
- From 2001-2003, the Lions were 0-24 on the road.
- The 2008 team went 0-16 (Millen was fired in Sept. 2008 but this was the roster he assembled)
- Millen was ultimately responsible for using first-round picks on Joey Harrington (2002), Charles Rogers (2003) and Mike Williams (2005), all considered busts.
And taking Williams, it turns out, was the final straw for Millen's son, Matthew, who punched his old man afterwards. Not so much because it was the third straight wide receiver Millen had drafted in the first round (the team selected Roy Williams in '04) but because of who the Lions passed up to get Williams.
So why did Millen settle on Williams?
"I just capitulated," he admitted. "It's nobody's fault but my own."
Matthew was in his early 20s when the Lions settled on Williams, and remembers thinking that his dad would be labeled a "buffoon" for letting Ware, a seven-time Pro Bowler with 115 career sacks, get away.
"It's part of what you've done, it's part of what you are," Millen said. "But it's not like I hide from it. There was no success there, but anything you say about it sounds like an excuse, and I'm not about excuses. They're reasons after the fact. What can you say? ... You're better off saying nothing."
And Millen hasn't said much since the Lions fired him in 2008. But now he'll be featured on NFL Network's A Football Life, and the hour-long documentary will no doubt focus on a reign that Millen once described as "beyond awful."
"I know why it didn't work, but it doesn't do any good to talk about it," Millen said. "It sounds like an excuse now. The rest is just rhetoric."
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