The Carolina Panthers have formally requested an interview with Detroit Lions Chief Operating Officer Mike Disner for their general manager vacancy. Disner is one of nine candidates the Panthers have put in requests to interview since their season came to a close.
While assistant coaches on playoff teams are not eligible to interview until after the Wild Card round, candidates for general manager positions are eligible to interview for open positions at any time, as long as a formal request is made.
Disner entered the NFL with the New England Patriots in 2007 as a scouting assistant and after two years took a position on the NFL management council. In 2014, he joined the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 as their Director of Football Administration, where he worked for six years before joining the Lions.
A West Bloomfield, Michigan native, Disner returned home in 2019, accepting a job as Vice President of Football Administration with the Lions. His primary roles with Detroit focused on the salary cap, where he had gained a positive reputation for his creative approach and problem-solving skills.
In 2021, Disner was promoted to Senior Vice President of Football and Business Administration and was heavily involved in the organization's search for a new coach and general manager. Disner is largely credited as being the individual who identified and pushed for Lions general manager Brad Holmes to get consideration for his current role.
In 2022, Disner was once again promoted, this time to Chief Operating Officer, the position he currently holds.
During his tenure in Detroit, several people have spoken very highly of Disner and his roles within the organization. Holmes has mentioned on multiple occasions that Disner is the catalyst in getting the Lions into a favorable position with the salary cap. Lions legend Calvin Johnson identified Disner as the person who helped mend fences and repair a previously fractured relationship.
On Wednesday, coach Dan Campbell also praised Disner for what the COO has brought to the organization:
“There’s a number of things that he’s dealt (with),” Campbell said. “Two years ago a ton of it dealt with the cap, structuring contracts, free agency. Then it’s just grown from there. Certainly, Rod (Wood) has groomed him to be a little bit more. He’s got oversight in a lot of the administrative portion of what we do here. He’s been outstanding. He’s worthy of a shot. So we’re happy for him, too.”
Disner is an intricate part of the Lions organization, but the Lions front office—like their coaching staff—is built on succession plans. With Disner a clear rising star, the Lions hired another young talent, Brandon Sosna, as their senior director of football administration. Sosna often works with Disner in a variety of capacities, including contracts and cap management.
We’re keeping tabs on all the Lions coaches and administrators being requested for interviews in our tracker, so be sure to check back for all the latest news.