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Millen returning; Lions 24-72 under his watch

1/2/2007 - Detroit Lions

Another subpar season won't cost Lions president Matt Millen his job.

Millen, who has a 24-72 record in his first six seasons, will return next season. He still has four years left on the contract extension he was given last season.

Millen said Tuesday that quitting is not an option he has
considered despite criticism of the team's dismal performance in
his tenure.

"I'll never quit,'' Millen said in an interview with a small
group of reporters, including The Detroit News, which posted some
of his comments on its Web site. "I can't do that. I don't even
consider that."

"It's the way I'm made."

Asked why he wouldn't quit, Millen replied: "You're given a
job, regardless of what it is. You keep on working and trying to
get the thing done."

The Lions beat Dallas on Sunday, closing the season an NFC-low
3-13.

Detroit was proud of proving it didn't quit on the miserable
season by beating a playoff team in Week 17. The victory snapped a
seven-game skid and a winless mark on the road in 2006.

It also cost the Lions the No. 1 pick in the draft -- an asset
they could've used to perhaps trade for picks and players.

"I really don't want to be one or two," receiver Roy Williams
said. "I'd rather be picking 31st."

Millen would, too, because such a low pick indicates success.

The Lions, who fired defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson and
offensive line coach Larry Beightol on Tuesday, have struggled so
much since Millen, a former linebacker and analyst, took over that
they're had the No. 2 pick twice, No. 3 once and three other top-10
picks.

Some of the players taken with those picks haven't panned out
and that begins to explain the mess the team is in six years after
Millen arrived to lead a once-mediocre franchise.

About 100 Detroit fans held a protest during the second quarter
of the last home game of the season Dec. 24 against the Chicago
Bears. The fans left their seats midway through the quarter and
gathered in Ford Field's atrium, where they chanted "Fire Millen"
while watching the game on the scoreboard.

Before Detroit's final home game, Millen said he talked to team
owner William Clay Ford after each game and when they met in the
middle of the season, they talked about plans for the next year.

Quarterback Joey Harrington and receiver Charles Rogers -- a
third and second pick overall, respectively -- were discarded in
2006 and some have speculated that 2005 first-round pick Mike Williams will be the next to go.

Williams expects and wants to be back.

"People call me a bust, so when you get that label, there's no
pressure," said Williams, who had a touchdown on Sunday to end his
30-game scoreless streak. "I don't worry about people talking
about my weight and work ethic because I'm doing what I love to do
and a lot of people can't say that.

"Things haven't started out pretty for me in the NFL, but
that's going to change."

Detroit has more needs than picks in the draft and not enough
cap space to fill every hole with free agency.

"There are a lot of things that need to be fixed," quarterback
Jon Kitna said.

Information from ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.