Martha Ford Steps Down As Detroit Lions Owner, Daughter Taking Over

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Nicholas Elias Contributor
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The Detroit Lions announced Tuesday that Martha Firestone Ford has stepped down as the principal owner of the team and will be replaced by her daughter, Sheila Ford Hamp.

“It has been a great honor for our family to be associated with the Lions and with the National Football League,” said Ford in a statement, “I am gratified that this family tradition, which my husband and I began almost six decades ago, will continue under Sheila’s guiding hand.” (RELATED: Ole Miss Will Retire Eli Manning’s Number 10)

Ford, 94, took over control of the Lions in 2014 when her husband, William Clay Ford, died, per the AP. Ford notably fired the president and general manager of the team in 2015, telling fans that she wanted to “identify and hire the very best leadership in order to produce a consistently, winning football team.”

“My mother has inspired all of us since taking on leadership of the Lions over six years ago,” said Hamp in a statement, “On behalf of the family and the team, I want to thank her for her countless contributions. I look forward to leading the Lions to excellence on and off the field.”

Hamp, 68, has served as one of the team’s vice chairmen during her mother ownership, according to the AP. The statement from the Lions said that Hamp “has been active in team leadership and National Football League activities for several years in preparation for officially assuming team leadership.”

“Martha Ford has led the Lions with skill and grace for the past six seasons,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement obtained by the AP, “I have appreciated her business insights, her love of the game, her deep commitment to the NFL, and her personal kindness.” Goodell added that the NFL is looking forward to working with Hamp and her club’s executive team.