As the Detroit Lions continue to prepare their search for the team’s next general manager and head coach , some rumors have bubbled to the surface. While names are being thrown against the wall by some insiders, no information has the potential to be more important than the note dropped by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Per Rapoport, the Lions will not be using a search firm to help find their next head coach.
This is significant for multiple reasons. First, it runs in direct opposition to what it appeared team owner Sheila Ford Hamp was planning on doing, at least as of last week. Ford Hamp said in a press conference the team was looking into search firms and was likely to use one.
“We talked about that,” Ford Hamp said. “We probably will. We’re going to be talking to a lot of people and using a lot of resources simultaneously. We’re not going to just rely on one avenue. There’s going to be several things we’re doing.”
The second reason this is significant is because it represents a departure from how the Lions recently operated. Back in 2015, the Lions—led by Ford Hamp’s mother Martha Firestone Ford—used a search firm to help with their general manager hiring process before they ended up landing on Bob Quinn.
Last week, former Raiders executive Amy Trask spoke with The Athletic’s Lions beat writer Chris Burke and downplayed the importance of search firms.
“Is anything bad going to come of (search firms)? Maybe just the money spent,” Trask said. “It’s better, in my view, to expend your energy and put your focus on those conversations with others throughout the league and learn from their experience. I don’t believe search firms add much to this equation.”
Prior to Ford Hamp’s press conference there were rumors the Lions had already hired a search firm, but team president Rod Wood quickly shot those down last week.
“I know there’s rumors out there about us already engaged in a search firm, that’s not happened,” Wood said.
So it appears the Lions have their own plan in place. We’ll just have to wait and see what exactly that is.
Note: The NFL sent out guidelines Monday for coaching/general manager searches in the COVID era. Most notably, all interviews before a team’s season is over must be done virtually, and all in-person meetings must include masks and social distancing.