The Detroit Lions have yet to line up any interviews for their vacant head coach and general manager positions, but the rumors have already started to rush in for both jobs. While 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh remains a top option (even after Monday night’s drubbing at the hands of the Bills), there has been no reported direct connection between the two.
On the GM side, however, one prominent name has emerged: former Giants general manager Jerry Reese. Over the weekend CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora was the first to report on the Lions’ interest in Reese, saying that advisors to the Ford family have strongly supported him as a candidate. The Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett has corroborated the Lions’ interest in Reese, noting that he’ll be a candidate but an interview hasn’t been set up yet.
Reese spent his entire football managerial career with the New York Giants, starting there as a college scout in 1994 and eventually working his way up to director of player personnel 10 years later. He assumed the general manager job in 2007 following Ernie Accorsi’s eight-year run as Giants general manage, and spent the next 10 years with that title. The Giants immediately won a Super Bowl in his first year and picked up another one four years later.
Reese’s draft history is mixed, but the Giants’ haul over that decade includes Odell Beckham Jr., Linval Joseph, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins and Landon Collins.
Perhaps one of Reese’s most intriguing qualities is his experience. The Lions’ have literally never hired a GM with previous general managing experience at the professional level. Given that the team is currently run by a new-on-the-job owner and a team president who had no football experience when he joined the team five years ago, a veteran football executive at the top of the organizational chart would make a lot of sense.
However, Reese’s proximity to Accorsi is... interesting. The Lions relied heavily upon Accorsi for their last general manager search, and according to La Canfora, Accorsi remains someone the Ford family trusts. Whether the Lions should trust Accorsi is a matter of opinion, but Birkett called his advising of the Lions’ 2015 general manager search a “sham”, which obviously resulted in Bob Quinn’s hiring.