While there has been no public slinging of mud between Eric Ebron and the Detroit Lions since the two parted ways a few weeks ago, there has been a noticeable tension bubbling underneath the surface. The Lions’ press release about his release was literally as short as possible. Ebron refuse to reflect on his time in Detroit with a passive-aggressive message to the Colts media “I really have nothing to say about the organization,” Ebron said last week.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn spoke with the media for the first time since this transaction this week at the owners meetings, but he refused to say anything negative about Ebron, the player or the person.
“It was just a financial decision,” Quinn said of the team’s choice to cut Ebron. “The salary that came along with the fifth-year opiton was something that we weight really up until the last minute, to be honest.”
That last-minute decision opened up $8.25 million in cap space just an hour before the new league year began and the free agency period opened. The Lions later signed tight end Luke Willson to a much more economical one-year, $2.5 million deal as part of Ebron’s replacement plan.
As for the trade talk, Quinn admitted that he spoke with several teams interested in Ebron. While he made no mention of the rumors that Ebron’s refusal to sign an extension held up negotiations, he did say that the one year cap hit was just too much for teams to endure. “We talked to a lot of teams, but the general response I got was, ‘the number’s too big.’”
Whether or not there was truly bad blood behind the scenes, we’ll probably never know. In a separate interview with DetroitLions.com’s Tori Petry this week, Quinn insisted Ebron was kept in the loop throughout the entire process of his potential trade and release. As for any salty feelings with how things ended up, Quinn took the high road:
“I want to wish Eric a great career in Indy or wherever he ends up after that. I have a great deal of respect for how he worked and how he matured over my couple years that I was with him.”