Lions ownership to keep team president Rod Wood in current role

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

The Lions made sweeping changes on Saturday, firing general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia. But team president Rod Wood, he’s not going anywhere. 

Owner Sheila Ford Hamp confirmed the family’s longtime financial adviser, who replaced Tom Lewand as team president in 2015, will continue to serve in his role as the team looks for new leadership for the franchise’s football operations. 

“I have no plans to change what Rod is doing,” Ford Hamp said on a Zoom conference call on Saturday afternoon. “But, you know, we’re looking at some organizational chart moves. It’s all going to be part of this process.”

Those comments aren’t entirely accurate, based on Ford Hamp’s opening remarks, where she announced the team’s vice president of personnel Kyle O’Brien, director of player personnel Lance Newmark, director of pro scouting Rob Lohman and vice president of football administration Mike Disner would all be reporting to Wood going forward. 

Previously, those employees would have reported to Quinn. Connecting the dots, that makes Wood the interim general manager, even if he doesn’t formally have that title. 

Video: Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp answers Wojo’s questions about team’s future

Wood will also be heavily involved in the search for the team’s next GM, spearheading the search alongside Ford Hamp, just like he did for her mother, Martha Firestone Ford when the organization hired Quinn in 2016. 

When Wood was hired in 2015, he held a press conference where he famously joked about his qualifications for the job, saying he wasn’t qualified to run any other NFL franchise than this one. 

More than a year later, at the owner’s meetings, Wood said his sense of humor poorly characterized what he meant to convey in that moment.

“I shouldn’t joke about my qualifications,” he said. “I certainly think I could (run another team). I probably could have a year ago, too. It’s more – I think the thing that I was trying to convey which maybe didn’t come out was the relationship with the Ford family makes me I think uniquely qualified to run this franchise.

“And I will tell you in talking to some of my peers, they are envious of the fact that I have that kind of a relationship, because that’s probably one of the most important things for a team president to have is to have a great relationship with ownership. And it’s very, very important I think to the success of the person in that position.”

More: From the obvious to the long shots, 25 candidates to replace fired Lions coach Matt Patricia

Additionally, in an interview with WJR-AM shortly after his hiring, Wood noted he wouldn’t be heavily involved in football decisions. 

“As most people have noted, I’m not a football guy, that’s not in my background,” Wood told WJR. “What I am pretty good at is hiring great people and letting them do their job. I would expect that we’ll do that by finding a great GM to lead the football side.”

Of course, there isn’t a more important football decision than choosing a GM and the team just fired the man Wood helped select less than five years ago, with no division titles or playoff wins to show for the tenure. 

As for Wood’s primary role, managing the franchise’s business side, his accomplishments are notable.

He’s overseen many key changes to Ford Field’s infrastructure, including the revamping of the stadium’s suites, improvements to concessions, the video boards and field, as well as the addition of cheerleaders.

Twitter: @justin_rogers

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