Detroit Lions interview 3 internal GM candidates: Kyle O’Brien, Lance Newmark, Rob Lohman

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
 
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions interviewed three internal candidates for their vacant general manager job this week: vice president of player personnel Kyle O’Brien, director of player personnel Lance Newmark and director of pro scouting Rob Lohman.

O’Brien, Newmark and Lohman have served as the Lions’ de facto general manager trio since the firings of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia on Nov. 28.

Interim Lions coach Darrell Bevell said he meets with O’Brien, Newmark and Lohman, along with team president Rod Wood and vice president of football administration Mike Disner, to discuss daily transactions and practice reports.

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“Great communication,” Bevell said. “Great conversations. And I think everybody’s able to bring a little bit different thought to it and perspective. So first week, so far, so good.”

While O’Brien, Newmark and Lohman all carry reputations as good talent evaluators and communicators, all are considered long shots for the permanent job.

Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said in her news conference after the firings that she was planning “an extremely thorough and comprehensive search,” and mentioned O’Brien, Newmark and Lohman only as the football executives who will head the personnel department “for the balance of this season, as we analyze our organizational structure and evaluate candidates for our general manager position.”

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O’Brien, in his 19th NFL season, spent the past five years as Quinn’s right-hand man with the Lions. He spent the three previous seasons as director of college scouting for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and before that worked for the New England Patriots and New York Jets.

Newmark has spent all but two of his 25 NFL seasons with the Lions, where he rose from an assistant in the player personnel department to director of college scouting, before taking his current role.

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Lohman joined the Lions in 2007 after six years with the Houston Texans. He previously served as the Lions’ college scouting coordinator and assistant director of pro personnel.

Asked how important it was for the next Lions regime to understand the organization’s troubled past, Hamp, in her news conference to announce the firings of Quinn and Patricia, said, “We can’t hide our past, that’s for sure. But I think I’m very dedicated to turning this ship around and really making a difference, and hopefully we won’t have to look back very much. We’ll just look forward.”

The Lions have interviewed internal candidates for high-level jobs in the past. In 2018, Quinn interviewed coordinators Teryl Austin and Jim Bob Cooter for the head coaching position that went to Patricia. And in 2016, the Lions interviewed interim GM Sheldon White for the job that went to Quinn.

The team is expected to interview GM candidates who currently are not employed by other teams in the coming weeks, likely Christmas, and then conduct a wide-ranging search that includes candidates employed by other NFL teams after the season.

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Depending on when the right candidate is identified, the GM then could hire the next head coach.

Per NFL rules, the Lions cannot interview front office executives or assistant coaches currently employed by other teams until after the regular season.

Four other teams — the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and Washington — currently have openings for a new GM.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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