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

Updated: January 30, 2006, 12:21 AM ET
Associated Press

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


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.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press