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Ford Jr.: Martha 'absolutely' in charge of Lions

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Bill Ford Jr.

Before his father died, William Clay Ford Jr. was heavily involved in the operations of the Lions and was a part of multiple NFL committees, including an appointment to the league's broadcast committee in 2013.

However, since William Clay Ford Sr. died in March 2014, his widow Martha Firestone Ford has been the most active member of the family with the team, and Bill Ford Jr. said on WJR (760-AM) Friday that his mother is running the team.

"She is in charge," he told Paul W. Smith. "She absolutely is. Since my father passed away over a year ago, my mother is in charge and she makes all the decisions."

In addition to attending several practices during training camp and most games last year and this year, Martha Ford — the team's owner and chairwoman — has represented the Lions at multiple league meetings, including the ones earlier this week in New York.

Martha Ford has addressed Lions media once — during minicamp in June — since taking over as owner for her late husband, while Bill Ford Jr. hasn't spoken publicly about the team in more than a year.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell indicated that Martha Ford spoke with NFL officials about the batted ball penalty officials didn't call in the team's loss to the Seattle Seahawks Monday.

"Don't think Mrs. Ford is not upset," Caldwell said during his interview on 97.1 FM Thursday morning. "Don't think that she doesn't give them a piece of her mind. She's there at league meetings this week, or yesterday, and without question, that's done."

Bill Ford Jr. is a vice chairman for the Lions, a position also held by his three sisters. However, he said Friday that he's not as involved with the team as he was in recent years. He's the executive chairman for Ford Motor Co.

"Since my dad died, I've been less involved with the Lions and the NFL but she is very much in charge and she's got the decision-making role," he said.