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Martz contacts Joey: "I believe in you." (1 Viewer)

Captain Blowhard

I prefer to provide a link, but I had to cut-and-paste this from a Lions message board. It is a story by the Oregonian. The journalist's name is given.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Joey Harrington got something from the Detroit Lions on Tuesday that he has been looking for for a long time. He got a vote of confidence. Votes of confidence, to be precise.

One arrived by way of a phone call Tuesday morning from new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Martz.

"One of the first things he said is, 'I believe in you,' " Harrington said when reached by phone Tuesday afternoon. "From what he said, he thinks I'm a good player. It's nice to have the support of a coach again."

Also, according to the Detroit Free Press, Lions President Matt Millen and new coach Rod Marinelli met with a small group of reporters Tuesday at the team's practice facility in Allen Park, Mich., and gave Harrington their support.

Questions about Harrington's future have dominated the early weeks of Detroit's offseason, even as the team looked to replace Steve Mariucci, who was fired with five games left in the regular season.

Marinelli got the job and hired Martz, who as either head coach or offensive coordinator helped make St. Louis' offense among the league's 10 best in six of the past seven seasons. He helped turn Mark Bulger into a Pro Bowl quarterback and Kurt Warner into a league most valuable player.

"He wants me to come back early and get a jump on things," said Harrington, who was in Newport Beach, Calif., where he's been working out with other players represented by his agent, David Dunn. "I told him I'm excited."

And excitement is something that's been hard to come by.

In four seasons, Harrington is 18-37 as a starting quarterback. He's had some good games; he's had some poor games. Last season, he fought through two benchings and comments from cornerback Dre Bly, who basically blamed Mariucci's firing on Harrington.

It was a difficult season, one that left a lot in the air. Finally on Tuesday, some questions got answered.

"I think we have our starter, wouldn't you say?" Millen said Tuesday.

"I'd agree," Marinelli said. "We like him."

Harrington is set to make nearly $4.5 million next season and is due a $4 million roster bonus on June 15. It's still possible the Lions could ask him to renegotiate, which would force Harrington into a decision.

"Money has never driven my decisions," Harrington said. "Money has never driven how I've acted. There's nothing more important to me than a person's loyalty."

He said he expects Dunn to have conversations with Lions' officials over the next week, when virtually the entire NFL power structure is in Indianapolis for the league's annual scouting combine. What exactly will be discussed? Harrington wasn't sure, or he wasn't saying.

"I've never done this before," he said.

Whatever happens, he said he expects a quick resolution. Tuesday, though, it was refreshing to get that call from Martz, a call Harrington described as "incredibly positive."

"From all the indications I've gotten from them, they've made it very clear," Harrington said of the Lions. Asked what they'd made clear, Harrington was succinct: "They want me here."

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If Martz truly believes in Joey, I think that is great news for the Lions and Harrington. You cannot question Martz's track record for helping develop QBs like Green, Warner and Bulger. If you're the Lions I think you have to give the kid one more chance, especially with a guy like Martz.


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