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Detroit Lions’ general mangaer pick Brad Holmes wasn’t on team’s original list

Brad Holmes

DETROIT — Brad Holmes was not even a candidate when the Detroit Lions began their search for a general manager nearly two months ago.

After a process that included interviewing him and 11 others for the vacancy, Holmes won the Lions over and landed a job he didn’t dream of when his NFL career began as a public relations intern in 2003.

“He stood out to us as the perfect fit,” team owner Sheila Ford Hamp said on a Zoom call with reporters on Tuesday, days after the team agreed to a deal with Holmes.

The Lions love Holmes’ combination of leadership skills, intelligence and personality along with his collaborative approaches.

The Lions are expected to hire New Orleans Saints tight end coach Dan Campbell to be their head coach, perhaps as soon as today, and plan to let him and Holmes work together to make big decisions this offseason.

Dan Campbell

Choosing to keep or trade quarterback Matthew Stafford along with trying to improve the defense will be their top priorities.

Stafford has two years left on his $135 million, five-year contract.

“It is my job to evaluate the entire roster,” Holmes said. “I have not had any discussions with Matt or any players. I just want to be fair to the process, but obviously, Matt is a very good football player.”

Holmes’ ability to use analytics to project which players will have success in the league, drawing on his 18 years of experience with the Los Angeles Rams, particularly impressed the Lions.

“Definitely cutting edge,” Hamp said. “Definitely different from pretty much what we’ve been doing here.”

The Atlanta Falcons had Holmes as a finalist before hiring Terry Fontenot as general manager on Tuesday. Holmes joins Fontenot, Miami’s Chris Grier and Cleveland’s Andrew Berry as Black general managers in the NFL.

Holmes hopes the league’s commitment to diversity includes hiring practices with positions that assist general managers.

“There’s less than 10 people of color that are at the director of college scouting role,” Holmes said. “There’s less than 10 in the league that are, if you want to call it the assistant GM role, or whatever that No. 2 position is.”

Hamp fired general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia in November.

Detroit was 5-11 last season — its 13th season with double digits in losses this century — and has had only one playoff victory since winning the 1957 NFL title.

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