New Lions president Rod Wood spoke to reporters at a press conference today, reiterating that he doesn’t have a football background and indicating at one point, “I would probably say that I’m not qualified to run any other NFL team, but I think I’m qualified to run this one,” according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). The assertion, which sounds alarming on the surface, makes some sense when taking into account Wood’s connection to the Ford family, and his understanding of ownership’s wishes and goals, tweets Birkett.
Still, for an executive whose hiring has been scrutinized and questioned based on his lack of football experience, Wood perhaps should have chosen his words a little more carefully. While that quote may get most of the attention, the new team president had plenty more to say, so let’s round up some highlights….
- According to Wood, the new general manager will be in charge of the Lions’ salary cap, and there will be a clear line of demarcation in responsibilities in the front office (Twitter links via Birkett). It will be “incredibly rare” for Wood to have input on any football personnel decisions — it will likely only happen if a signing or acquisition requires a significant financial investment.
- The Lions’ advisory board, which consists of Wood and various members of the Ford family, doesn’t have a ton of football experience, as the new president acknowledged today. Wood suggested the Lions will employ an advisor for their GM search to help identify the right candidate (Twitter link via Birkett).
- According to Wood, the team will use “every resource available to us” in its search for a general manager, and interim GM Sheldon White will be a candidate (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com). Identifying a candidate with “a history of successful roster building” will be a priority, tweets Birkett.
- The new general manager will be the one to make the call on Jim Caldwell‘s future with the club, per Birkett (Twitter link). That doesn’t bode particularly well for Caldwell, since new GMs often prefer to bring in their own head coaches.
- Wood admitted that he was involved in discussions on whether or not to fire former GM Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand (Twitter link via Birkett). While it would be unfair to accuse Wood of any ulterior motives, it seems to me like a conflict of interest for the team to solicit his opinion on whether to fire someone he ultimately replaced.
- Selling the team isn’t an option for the Fords in the near future, according to Wood, who declined to comment on a succession plan for ownership (Twitter link via Birkett).