Lions add John Dorsey, Ray Agnew to front office

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

After the Detroit Lions added some key experience to their coaching staff, general manager Brad Holmes is bringing in both accomplished voice and familiar voice to work with in the team’s front office. 

On Wednesday, the Lions announced the hiring of former Chiefs and Browns general manager John Dorsey as a senior personnel executive and Los Angeles Rams director of pro personnel Ray Agnew as Holmes’ assistant GM. 

Dorsey brings an extensive resume that should help offset some of Holmes’ relative inexperience as a first-time general manager. 

A former linebacker for the Green Bay Packers in the 1980s, Dorsey transitioned into a scouting role for the team after his playing days. By 1997, he had worked his way up to the franchise’s director of college scouting.

Dorsey briefly left Green Bay, following coach Mike Holmgren to Seattle, but resigned after just one year on the job, returning to his previous role with the Packers in 2001. He remained with the organization through 2013, when he left to become the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. 

There, he hired coach Andy Reid and oversaw four drafts, including the selection of quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2017, shortly before he was fired by the organization. A few months later, Dorsey was named the GM of the Browns, until he was again fired at the end of the 2019 season. 

More: Wojo: Matthew Stafford makes his smartest call, asks Lions to trade him

Interestingly, after he was fired by the Chiefs, sources told the Kansas City Star that communication was an issue for Dorsey. 

“John does stuff and doesn’t tell people why,” one source said, while another said Dorsey’s management style “could wear on people.”

While there’s nothing to say he didn’t learn from that experience, those comments obviously run counter to the emphasis the Lions have put on communication and leadership cohesion during the recent searches for a new GM and coach that led to the hiring of Holmes and Dan Campbell.  

But Dorsey’s reputation as a talent evaluator is tough to argue. He earned two Super Bowl rings in Green Bay and was obviously instrumental in the early stages of the turnarounds of both the Chiefs and Browns. At all three stops, he helped land franchise quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, Mahomes and Baker Mayfield. 

With the Lions putting Matthew Stafford on the trade block this weekend, finding a replacement figures to be the top priority for Holmes and company. 

Agnew, a former first-round pick who played 11 years in the NFL (1990-2000), won a Super Bowl with the Rams as a player.

After his playing career, Agnew was hired by the franchise to work as the team pastor and head of player development. He transitioned into the personnel department in 2007 and has headed that department the past four years. 

His experience scouting pro personnel should complement Holmes and Dorsey’s extensive experience as college evaluators.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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