View Full Version : Kitna leaves for Lions (3/14)

03-14-2006, 04:15 PM
Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Quarterback Jon Kitna has reached agreement on a four-year contract with the Lions and will return to Detroit to begin the offseason program Monday.

“From the moment we walked in there, there was a comfort and peace,” Kitna told the Enquirer this afternoon. “We sat down with the head coach (Rod Marinelli), who is a straight-shooter.”

Kitna and his wife, Jennifer, and two oldest children accompanied him to Detroit on Saturday.

Kitna and Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz met and watched film for three hours.

“Talking with him, watching his offense, seeing the opportunity I had, they stepped up and made the commitment financially. Here (with the Bengals) it was just as a backup, period. There was no contract here.”

Kitna declined to reveal the numbers but inferred that the Lions were not paying him “backup money.”

Marinelli has said he wants to make a commitment to quarterback Joey Harrington.

“They’re still trying to sort the situation out,” Kitna said of the Lions.

Kitna said Marinelli, Martz and general manager Matt Millen all told him that they want his leadership to help turn around a losing attitude in Detroit. Kitna played a big role – on and off the field in his five seasons with the Bengals – to help change a losing attitude.

Kitna said he left a phone message this morning for starting quarterback Carson Palmer – whom he has termed his best friend on the team – but had yet to hear back from the Bengals starting quarterback. Palmer has been rehabbing from surgery to replace two left knee ligaments.

Kitna said he also has spoken with Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, wide receivers coach Hue Jackson, tight end Reggie Kelly and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Kitna said the coaches and former teammates all wished him well with his new team.

Kitna said the Miami Dolphins also expressed interest and wanted him to visit before he agreed to terms with the Lions.

Kitna leaves the Bengals after five seasons.. He spent the last two as a backup to Palmer after earning NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2003 for the Bengals.

Kitna also visited the New York Jets on Sunday and Monday.

The Bengals are looking to sign a third healthy quarterback to work with Craig Krenzel and Doug Johnson until Palmer is able to participate after undergoing surgery Jan. 10.

Former Rams quarterback Jamie Martin is visiting today and could reach agreement with the Bengals before the end of the business day.

E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com


03-14-2006, 04:16 PM
I think that makes sense for John.

Good luck to him.

03-14-2006, 04:27 PM
Not surprised he left, and I wish him all the best.

However, Detroit's offense isn't exactly stacked...

03-14-2006, 04:31 PM
Playing half his games (more than that, considering who they play) inside will be good for his small hands trying to grip frozen pigskin.

Johnny Footstool
03-14-2006, 04:42 PM
Meh. He had one good season thanks to Chad Johnson. His "performance" against Pittsburgh in last year's playoff game typifies his ability.

03-14-2006, 04:44 PM
Best Wishes to Kitna. He was an outstanding mentor for CP and I hope he finds success with the Lions and wins the job. It is certainly up for grabs there, where here, other than the possibility of the early season, Palmer's the man.

03-14-2006, 05:17 PM
Wonder if Aaron Brooks will be thought of as a starter or a reserve in this year's FA QB crop...

Roy Tucker
03-14-2006, 05:40 PM
Kitna probably has a better shot at displacing Harrington than he does Palmer.

Best wishes to him. He is a good man.

03-14-2006, 05:49 PM
Thanks for the years in Cincy, Jon Kitna. You are a good guy and were a great mentor to CP. All the best in Detroit.

Sea Ray
03-14-2006, 06:12 PM
Detroit giving him $5mill in first year money just shows why the Motor City fans say what they do about Matt Millen. Kudos to Jon Kitna for finding an idiot GM. This will go on Millen's firing resuume someday.

Kitna's a very good guy but he's not a starting QB nor is he worth that kind of money.

03-14-2006, 06:22 PM
I think Kitna did a good job in Cincinnati... when he was playing every week. It's tough to come into the game cold.

Best wishes... and, yes, he is a good man.

03-14-2006, 06:28 PM
I think Kitna did a good job in Cincinnati... when he was playing every week.

He was average to above average (on a good day...or in 2003), nothing more.

It's tough to come into the game cold.


True...but that's what he was paid to do.

03-14-2006, 06:44 PM
I didn't say he was phenominal; I said he was good when he played every week.... just good.

03-14-2006, 07:45 PM
Jon Kitna is by far and away one of the better role models in the NFL. After the season he had in 2003 and having Marvin turn the reins over to Palmer the following season, most QB's in his position would have sought a trade or asked for a release. Kitna did neither, which IMO tells a lot about his humility.

I don't think I will forget when he wore the cross hat to a press conference and was fined by the NFL for not wearing a reebok affiliated hat. The outcry even resulted in churches in the Cincinnati area offering to pay his fine. The NFL later rescinded it.

Looking at Detroit, I think Kitna could serve in a similar role there as he did in Cincinnati. While Harrington has a longer life than Akili Smith, he clearly isnt the answer, and Detroit has three capable wideouts and a solid running back if they stay healthy. In a couple of years and a young QB to groom, the Lions could be another Cincinnati Bengals if things are done right.

Good luck to Jon Kitna and hopefully when his playing career is over, he can find a job as a coach in the NFL.