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Mariucci says he's taking 'a long time off'

1/30/2006 - NFL

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Steve Mariucci broke his silence.

Barely.

Since being fired by the Detroit Lions in November, Mariucci has
shunned interview requests through agent Gary O'Hagan and his best
friend, Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo. Mariucci also
asked a Pistons spokesman to keep reporters away when the Spartans
played at The Palace earlier this season.

But a four-word response Sunday night during halftime of the Los
Angeles Lakers-Detroit Pistons game confirmed what many have
concluded about his plans.

When an Associated Press reporter asked Mariucci if he planned
to take time off from coaching, he replied: "A long time off."

O'Hagan declined to comment twice earlier this month when asked
about his client's future. Mariucci has two more years remaining on
the $25 million contract he signed with the Lions in 2003.

Mariucci was 15-28 in two-plus seasons in Detroit after being
fired in San Francisco with a 60-43 record in six seasons.

The Lions hired Rod Marinelli on Jan. 19 after a two-week
search. They were one of 10 teams to make a coaching change this
offseason, including the Oakland Raiders, who still have an
opening.

Earlier Sunday, the Lions hired Donnie Henderson as defensive
coordinator.

Henderson comes to the Lions after two seasons in the same role
with the New York Jets. Former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz is
reportedly a candidate to come to Detroit as offensive coordinator.

The Lions also announced five coaches from Mariucci's former
staff were retained: Chuck Priefer, Phil Snow, Don Clemons, Stan
Kwan and Adam Gase.