Chris Spielman reveals the Brad Holmes ‘villain’ story

USA Today

Back at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, Lions GM Brad Holmes made waves by wearing a fashionable white hoodie with the word “villain” in a distinct font. Holmes himself has never really talked about the meaning behind the villain, only hinting here and there.

It appears we finally have the origin story for the villain mantra. It comes courtesy of Lions special assistant and team legend Chris Spielman.

Chris joined his brother Rick, a longtime NFL exec and former GM of the Minnesota Vikings, on a recent episode of the CBS Sports podcast “With the First Pick,” where Rick is a co-host. A discussion about draft concepts and positional value got Chris to give up the villainry.


“Everybody said, ‘Oh my gosh, you took a running back?’ Well, yeah, we did, but Jahmyr is going to be much more than a running back,” Chris Spielman said. “It’s been reported that he’s got some wide receiver skills. Rick (Spielman), you saw him at Alabama plenty. He has some wide receiver skills, so he’s a matchup nightmare.”

Chris Spielman continued,

“So you’re drafting a football player, and you’re drafting a running back that can also be a little bit of a slot guy. So you’re drafting a guy that’s a problem. That’s when Brad — you ever see those shirts that just say ‘villain’? Jahmyr can be a villain for another team. So you draft these villains.”

Gibbs did indeed steal some opposing ankles, souls and wins for the Lions as a rookie. Spielman’s explanation definitely passes the sniff test. The entire episode with the brothers Spielman is a very worthwhile listen, too.

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