On Marinelli, Barry and Gray
Didn't get a chance to weigh in on the new homes that Rod Marinelli and Joe Barry found earlier today because I was working on a story we're running in tomorrow's paper about a civil suit filed against coaching-candidate Jerry Gray, covering the Michigan State-Kansas basketball game and making what turned out to be a 2 1/2-hour drive home from East Lansing on snow-covered roads.
More on Marinelli and Barry in a minute, but first about Gray: Buffalo Bills cornerback Terrence McGee sued Gray, financial adviser Craig Curry and agent Terry Bolar two years ago, alleging that Curry bilked him out of more than $1 million and covered up the theft by forging phony documents. Gray, the Bills defensive coordinator at the time, is accused as a conspirator.
A league source said Saturday the Lions were familiar with the pending litigation before interviewing Gray Jan. 2 and it did nothing to eliminate him as a candidate. Lions spokesperson Bill Keenist declined comment.
We're not commenting on any reports regarding coaching candidates, Keenist said. That wouldn't change anything about our willingness to comment or not comment.
Gray, who played with new Lions general manager Martin Mayhew for one season in Tampa Bay, was a college teammate of Curry's at Texas. According to filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Texas, they were also best men in each other's weddings.
Now the secondary coach of the Washington Redskins, Gray did not return a phone call seeking comment Saturday but his attorney, Jared LeBlanc, called McGee's claims completely without merit.
There's thousands of documents in this case and there is not a shred of evidence and absolutely no support for these allegations, LeBlanc said.
Specifically, McGee claims that Gray had something to gain financially by interceding in his business and financial affairs with Curry and Bolar. In one instance, he alleges that Gray called him out of a position meeting in Buffalo to discuss why he fired Bolar, then directed him to go see former Bills general manager Tom Donohoe, where a contract extension that Bolar negotiated was ready to be signed.
A trial is set for May.
Now, about Marinelli and Barry, it's good to see both of them land jobs this early in the offseason, proof that they're not as bad of coaches as some around here think. Marinelli was hired as assistant head coach/defensive line coach with the Bears, where I have no doubt he'll have that talented but underachieving line humming next year. Barry, according to a report on NFL.com, is set to join the Seahawks as linebackers coach, the role he filled in Tampa Bay before becoming defensive coordinator with the Lions.
Interestingly enough, the Lions play both Chicago (twice) and Seattle next year.