Lions president Tom Lewand appeared on Action News at 7 and offered some insight on the Lions vision moving forward and if last week's legal troubles alter the approach to the 2012 Draft.
Lewand on broadcasting partnership with WXYZ:
"This is a new partnership and an extended old partnership. We did so many great things together last year and the opportunity to build on that and do it for the next several years, through 2015, is incredibly exciting for us."
Lewand on hopes for 2012:
"We're so excited about what we accomplished last year. We know we've got a lot of work to do this year, but we've got a great nucleus of young players in Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh and Louis Delmas and so many other guys that really have a focus about getting back to work. They all come back on April 16, just next week, to get ready to roll.
"I think it was summed up best by Calvin when we signed him to that big extension. The first thing he said in the press conference was, 'I just want to get back to work.' And we all do. It's exciting to get those young guys, those young talented guys back to work winning football games."
Lewand on securing Calvin Johnson long-term:
"More than just creating cap room - and that's what a lot of people talked about - we wanted the first signing that we did this year to be a guy that is one of the cornerstones of the franchise.
"Having the cap room is far less important than having Calvin Johnson for hopefully the rest of his career. Being able to send that message inside our locker room, to our fan base and I think Jim Schwartz put it best that day. It happened to be Mr. Ford's birthday when we got that contract done. He said, 'Who else would give a gift to city of Detroit on his birthday but Mr. Ford?' and keeping Calvin around for a long time."
Lewand on the marijuana possession incidents of Nick Fairley and Mikel Leshoure:
"We said it last week - we're clearly disappointed. We're disappointed when anybody in our organization puts themselves in a position to have a negative interaction with law enforcement. Obviously guys are innocent until proven guilty so I can't say too much about the pending legal proceedings, but you've got to address the issues as they arise. You also can't over-react and treat it as some systemic problem that's going to impact your plans for the future.
"We know what the incidents are. We've dealt with the guys. We've talked to them and I think as we proceed through this offseason, we know we're drafting not just for this year but we're drafting for future years - for two or three or four years down the road, for the length of our partnership. We keep that focus in mind moreso than the latest headlines, as disappointing as they might be."
Lewand on the Lions chances in 2012:
"Our focus is on getting better. Last year wasn't good enough for us. Our goal is not to be a wild card participant. Our goals are a lot higher than that. People say to us all the time, 'What a great year, what a great year.'
"Well, you know what - it wasn't a great year. It was okay. It was a step in the right direction, but we've got a lot of work ahead of us and our goals are out there to be achieved and that goal ultimately is Super Bowl championships, not just one, but many."
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