When the Detroit Lions decided to hire Brian Xanders as a senior personnel executive, it wasn't clear if general manager Martin Mayhew was behind the hire. Given Xanders' experience as a general manager in the NFL, some viewed the move as being forced upon Mayhew by ownership. Some even took it a step further and speculated that the Lions hired Xanders as Mayhew's eventual replacement (in the event that 2013 ends up being as bad as 2012).
As it turns out, Mayhew was actually the one who decided to bring in Xanders. Mayhew said at the combine last week that he interviewed Xanders during the season, and apparently they go way back to their days at Florida State. Mayhew also said that Xanders is already having a positive impact on the Lions. From the Free Press:
"Brian and I had a lot of talks about their structure and the way they did things in Denver and Atlanta, and he’s really been helpful, even as far as our combine preparation so far," said Mayhew, who interviewed Xanders during the season. "We’ve changed some things up, as far as our combine books and our interview process, based on Brian’s recommendation. He’s been a really good pickup for us."
If the Lions do have a disappointing 2013, it's entirely possible that Xanders could take over the general manager job if Mayhew is let go. However, it seems that Mayhew decided to bring in Xanders in part to prevent that from happening. Mayhew must have realized that there was a need to mix things up after a rough 2012, and his way of mixing things up was adding Xanders to the front office.