DETROIT -- The Detroit Lions will do all they can to ensure a secure, productive future for paralyzed offensive lineman Mike Utley, club owner William Clay Ford said yesterday.
"We're certainly going to take good care of him," Ford said. "That sounds trite, but we're going to do all we can.
"I know the benefits he gets and all of that. I want to make sure
things like the cost of living is covered. We're going to have to make sure that down the road 10 or 15 years he is still taken care of."
Former New England wide receiver Darryl Stingley suffered a similarly disabling injury in 1978. Although he is confined to a wheelchair and lives in Chicago, he is executive director of player personnel for the Patriots.
Ford said the Lions have discussed a similar position for Utley.
"A lot depends on how Mike feels about it," Ford said. "You don't want to create something artificial.
"I think he wants to be -- and will be -- a very productive individual. If there's anything we can do to help him, we will do it."
Utley suffered a spinal cord injury Nov. 17 against the Los Angeles Rams. Yesterday he was transferred from Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital to the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.