Detroit Lions owner Sheila Hamp sensed fans’ frustrations over the team’s 1-5 start—and 4-18-1 start under coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes.
So on Wednesday afternoon during practice, Hamp held a short four-minute media session to offer her thoughts on the team and answer a couple of questions from reporters.
She expressed her frustration with how the team has been performing while also professing her full support for Campbell and Holmes. She reiterated several times that this was a complete teardown and rebuild that requires time and patience.
All the while, she urged fans not “to push the panic button and give up the ship.” She believes there are signs of progress and the results are coming.
Here’s a full transcript of her media session.
Note: Questions are paraphrased.
“I just wanted to follow through with what I said initially that I would be open and honest and available for you guys. So, here I am. I’m sure you have a few questions for me but wanted to open with a couple comments. I know this is difficult. Our rebuild is hard, but we really believe in our process. We really believe in–we’re going to turn this thing around the right way, through the draft. It requires patience. It’s frustrating. Am I frustrated? Absolutely. Are the fans frustrated? Absolutely? Are you guys frustrated?
“But I think we really are making progress. We’ve seen it. It’s just – this was a huge teardown and then turnaround. We’re only a third of the way through the season. We’ve got 11 more games to go, so I just don’t want everyone to push the panic button and give up the ship, because I think we’ve got the right people in place to pull this off. And I truly believe that, and I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t believe it.”
What are the positives you’ve seen?
“The positives are the way we started the season with the offense. Obviously, I think we’ve got to get back to that. In any turnaround, there’s going to be ups and downs. It’s not going to be smooth. It’s not going to be like this [gestures straight, ascending line]. Boy, I wish it were. That’d be simple, but it’s not. There’s going to be fluctuations, and the other thing is–you all well know–our team is very young. That’s not an excuse. That’s a fact, and young players are going to make mistakes. So, we’ve had some key mistakes that have cost us games. Hopefully, we’re not going to repeat those, hopefully, we learn. But it is a process and that’s what it is. It’s hard, and it’s really hard to stay disciplined. No one hates losing more than I do, than my family does, but it’s just–we’ve just gotta go through it.”
What feels different about this rebuild?
“This, I would say, was a teardown, and then a rebuild. We really had to take it down to the ground level. And it’s been not only on the football side but across the organization. We’ve put in a lot of new talent at the top. I really believe in the top leadership in this organization and I think we’ve got the people to do it, to carry this out. I think that’s what’s different.”
Why are you talking with us? How long does patience last?
“Well, I agree with you. Patience lasts—as I said, we’ve got a long way to go in this season. I wanted to talk to you guys, because talking to you (is) talking to the fans. And I know everyone’s frustrated, I’m frustrated. But, again, I really believe in what we’ve got and what we’re going to be. It just takes time.”
Why do you believe in Dan Campbell when other rebuilds are happening quicker around the NFL?
“What I really have confidence in is the process we went through in the first place when we hired Brad (Holmes) and Dan. It was extremely thorough, and we really believe we’ve come up with the right people. I can’t comment on other teams’ rosters and what they had in the first place. All I know is what we had and where we’re going.”
Is neither Brad Holmes’ nor Dan Campbell’s jobs in danger this year no matter what?
“I believe in the leadership.”