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Detroit Lions hire Los Angeles Rams’ executive Brad Holmes as general manager

Sheila Ford Hamp, who was the Detroit Lions vice chair, talks with Lions owner Martha Ford before a game against the Minnesota Vikings in Detroit on Nov. 24, 2016. Hamp has become owner in the intervening years. (AP file photo)

By LARRY LAGE

AP Sports Writer

The Detroit Lions desperately need to figure out how to draft better players and they’re leaning on Brad Holmes to lead the way, drawing on his expertise with the Los Angeles Rams.

Holmes and the Lions agreed to terms Thursday on a deal Thursday that makes him their general manager. He led the Rams’ college scouting department for eight years and started his 18-year career with them as a public relations intern in 2003.

Unlike Detroit’s previous search in 2016 when it hired Bob Quinn after interviewing just three candidates, it chose to give Holmes a shot after he was one of 12 to formally discuss the job with the team.

“It was evident early on that Brad is a proven leader who is ready for this opportunity,” Lions principal owner and chairman Sheila Ford Hamp said.

Holmes had a second interview in Detroit on Wednesday, meeting with the franchise’s leaders in person, and was impressive enough to land the job.

“Throughout our search for a new general manager, Brad was someone who stood out immediately,” Lions president and CEO Rod Wood said. “His abilities as a critical thinker, along with his extensive experience implementing technology and analytics into his approach to scouting, were among the many decisive qualities Brad displayed in our time getting to know him during the interview process.”

The Rams said Holmes will oversee the Lions’ football operations and report directly to Ford Hamp and Wood.

To replace Quinn, who was fired along with coach Matt Patricia in November, the Lions interviewed many candidates: Rick Smith, Scott Pioli, Thomas Dimitroff, Louis Riddick, Jeff Ireland, Ed Dodds, Terry Fontenot, Kyle O’Brien, Lance Newmark, Rob Lohman and George Paton.

Holmes will now join Detroit’s search for a new coach.

New Orleans assistant head coach/tight end coach Dan Campbell, Tennessee offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, former Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis, San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and interim head coach Darrell Bevell have interviewed for the opportunity to lead a long-suffering franchise.

Detroit hasn’t won a playoff game since beating Dallas on Jan. 5, 1992, and that victory was its only one in the postseason since winning the 1957 NFL title.