WEEK IN REVIEW: Remembering William Clay Ford; free agency begins

Posted Mar 15, 2014

The Lions and NFL reflect on the passing of owner William Clay Ford and free agency begins

William Clay FordWilliam Clay Ford (Photo: Detroit Lions Archives)

The week began on a somber note, as the Detroit Lions organization lost not only it's owner, but a friend, in the passing of William Clay Ford.

Ford passed away at his home at the age of 88 from pnemonia on Sunday. In the following days, stories of his compassion, humor and love for this team came from every outlet.

"It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of Mr. Ford and extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Ford and to the entire Ford family," Lions team president Tom Lewand said.

"No owner loved his team more than Mr. Ford loved the Lions.

"Those of us who had the opportunity to work for Mr. Ford knew of his unyielding passion for his family, the Lions and the city of Detroit.

"His leadership, integrity, kindness, humility and good humor were matched only by his desire to bring a Super Bowl championship to the Lions and to our community. Each of us in the organization will continue to relentlessly pursue that goal in his honor."

This week also marked the start of free agency.

While the Lions didn't make as big of a splash as they did last year, with the signing of Reggie Bush, Jason Jones and Glover Quin, they did begin with filling immediate needs.

On the first day, the Lions' signed running back Joique Bell to a new three-year deal, and signed former Seahawks' wide receiver Golden Tate to a five-year contract.

The Lions also signed pass rusher Darryl Tapp, who has familiarity with several of the Lions' defensive coaches, and defensive tackle Vaughn Martin, immediately improving their defensive line depth.

On Friday, the Lions made sure to secure versatile tight end Brandon Pettigrew through the 2017 season, with a new four-year deal, capping off a strong week of free agent signings.