Report: Detroit Lions to interview ex-Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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Thomas Dimitroff’s first full-time job in the NFL was with the Detroit Lions. After getting fired as Atlanta Falcons general manager earlier this fall, Dimitroff’s spin around the league could come full circle.

The Lions are planning to interview Dimitroff next week, NFL Network reported Thursday.

Dimitroff spent 13 seasons as Falcons GM before he was fired, along with head coach Dan Quinn, in October. He took quarterback Matt Ryan with his first ever draft pick in 2008, and built the Falcons into a Super Bowl team.

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He is the sixth known candidate for the GM job. The Lions interviewed in-house personnel executives Kyle O’Brien, Lance Newmark and Rob Lohman last week, and are expected to meet with ESPN analyst Louis Riddick and former Houston Texans GM Rick Smith in the coming days.

Dimitroff’s agent has not returned messages in recent days about his interview.

The son of a former NFL scout, Dimitroff was the BLESTO scout for the Lions in 1994-96, where he worked under Ron Hughes and with several other future GMs, including the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Kevin Colbert and the Minnesota Vikings’ Rick Spielman, whose brother, Chris, played for the Lions at the time and joined the team as a front office executive this week.

He told the Free Press in 2017 he learned valuable lessons during his time in Detroit.

“We were really, really detailed with our scouting, with our categorizing and our differentiating between players, and I think that was a really big thing,” Dimitroff said. “We really stayed to our process. I was involved in the combine at that time and that was a big thing we believed in. Listening to what was being reported and not swaying just because someone else was reporting something. Basically, it was sticking to our guns on the type of players that we were going to draft.”

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If the Lions hire Dimitroff, they likely will not need to change much about their scouting processes.

In Atlanta, he used the system he learned as a national scout and the director of college scouting with the New England Patriots.

The Lions employed a similar system of evaluating and categorizing players the past five years under Bob Quinn.

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Dimitroff was part of two Super Bowl-winning teams in New England. The Falcons lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI, but won 109 games and made six playoff appearances with Dimitroff as GM.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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