Ford tells Lions to have fun

Updated: October 30, 2003, 9:30 AM ET
ESPN

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The struggling Detroit Lions got a pep talk from owner William Clay Ford on Wednesday.

Even with addition of new coach Steve Mariucci, the Lions, off to a 1-6 start, are facing the same troubles as they have over the past two years, a span in which they won just five of 32 games.

Quarterback Joey Harrington said Ford told the Lions they were not playing well, but that they were better than their record showed. Then, Ford stressed the importance of having fun.

"There are a lot of kids growing up who wish they were in a position you're in and who are having fun playing football," said Harrington, recalling Ford's speech. "And just remember what it was like to be in that position."

Harrington, who has thrown an NFL-high 12 interceptions, said it's difficult to have fun when your team is losing.

"You seem to play better when you have fun," he said. "It's kind of a Catch-22, though. You have fun when you win and you win when you have fun. Losing isn't fun. There's no getting around that."

Detroit, which has lost 14 of its last 15 games, hosts Oakland (2-5) Sunday. The Lions have also lost 20 straight road games.

"It isn't fun to deal with because you take pride in your work, but there's a certain point where you have to make it fun again," Harrington said. "I think that by making it fun, things will start to turn."

Mariucci welcomed Ford speaking to the team.

"It was encouraging words," Mariucci said. "I can say that and it was great to hear from him."

Ford did not meet with reporters after practice.

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