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Conflicting reports emerge on Jim Schwartz's future ahead of Lions' final game

Despite a disappointing 2013 season, Jim Schwartz's tenure in Detroit might not be over. (David Richard/AP) Despite a disappointing 2013 season, Jim Schwartz might not be fired by the Lions. (David Richard/AP)

Jim Schwartz's fate in Detroit appeared to be sealed last week when his Lions lost their shot at the NFC North title -- and Schwartz was caught by FOX's cameras turning to shout at booing fans. But does Schwartz still have a shot at convincing ownership to keep him around? It depends on whom you ask.

ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Sunday: "League sources said Lions ownership is 'on the fence' about HC Jim Schwartz’s job status but it is 'leaning towards keeping him.'"

Only moments later, though, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport presented a different tale:

Rapoport's last point there could be a substantial one. William Clay Ford was the one behind decisions to stick with hires like Matt Millen and Rod Marinelli, well after the writing appeared to be on the wall. That said, Bill Ford Jr. reportedly pushed to keep Schwartz for the 2013 season -- despite the front office asking for a change -- due to a high buyout number. It's believed that Schwartz is set to earn $12 million over the final two years of his contract, which Detroit would be on the hook for even if it cans him.

What has been most unclear is if possible changes are an all-or-nothing situation, with regards to the staff and front office. In other words, could GM Martin Mayhew return if Schwartz is fired? Or, in an even more improbable scenario, could Schwartz survive despite a massive overhaul in the front office?

A win Sunday would give the Lions an 8-8 record and just their second .500 campaign over the past 13 seasons. The other also came under Schwartz's watch, in 2011, when the Lions made the playoffs as a wild card.

The NFC North was there for the taking this season, though. Detroit's failure to grab it seemingly meant the end of the line for Schwartz and his staff.

Update: FOX's Jay Glazer named Schwartz as one of three coaches he believes definitely will be let go after Week 17, along with Minnesota's Leslie Frazier and Washington's Mike Shanahan.

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