PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- Bobby Ross escaped the pressures of coaching the Detroit Lions. Gary Moeller is already starting to feel them.
Ross, mentally and physically drained after 3 1/2 years as coach of the Lions, resigned Monday and was replaced by assistant coach Moeller, who was fired as Michigan's coach in 1995 days after his arrest during a disturbance at a Detroit-area restaurant.
"I really think I can put less pressure on myself," Moeller said Monday after signing a three-year contract. "But I'm not sure, you know what I mean? You get into it, things start to tighten and the screws start to tighten.
"This honeymoon is going to end tomorrow, probably in two or three hours. I think I can deal with that and deal thoroughly with it."
Ross' resignation was the third coaching change in the NFL this season, but it's the first with a team that is having a relatively successful season.
The Lions are 5-4 and have a chance to earn a playoff berth.
Two weeks ago, Arizona fired Vince Tobin and replaced him with Dave McGinnis. On Sept. 25, Bruce Coslet resigned in Cincinnati and was replaced by Dick LeBeau.
In his fourth year with the Lions, Ross compiled a 27-30 regular-season record and an 0-2 mark from playoff appearances in 1997 and last season. He replaced Wayne Fontes, who was fired in December 1996.
The 63-year-old Ross submitted a letter of resignation to owner William Clay Ford Sr.
"I am sorry, also, for not giving you the championship trophy you so richly deserved. Your strong support was my constant motivation throughout my time here," Ross wrote.
Ford said Ross resigned on his own.
"I think he felt that he just burned himself out physically and mentally, that he didn't have any more to give," Ford said. "I think he made the right decision."
Ross had one year remaining on his five-year contract with the Lions. Vice president Chuck Schmidt said details of the contract buyout have not been determined.
Moeller will not be much like Ross. Moeller likes to smile and throw the football. Ross didn't smile much and preferred to run the football.
"My personality is probably going to be a little different than his," Moeller said.
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