“It’s a harsh business,” safety Harrison Smith said. “As a player, we all love coach Frazier, as a coach, as a man. You can’t meet a better guy. And also as a player, we didn’t make enough plays on the field. So you just feel like you let him down a little bit.”
The Lions were considered an underachieving team the past two years under Schwartz. After a 6-3 start this year in a division where the Packers and Bears lost their starting quarterbacks for lengthy periods, Detroit fell apart down the stretch. They lost six of their past seven.
He had two years and almost US$12 million remaining on his deal, signed after the Lions hired him to fix a team that went 0-16 in 2008.
“From where we were in 2008 to where we are now it’s a big difference,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “We owe a lot of that to him. He’s a really smart guy and helped us get to where we are. Obviously, we didn’t win as many games as we needed to or as we should have this year.”