ALLEN PARK – William Clay Ford was not very involved with the Detroit Lions during his later years as the team owner. Martha Firestone Ford took a more hands-on approach when she took office in 2014, and it appears their daughter was even more involved in team operations.
Sheila Ford Hamp even participates in offensive and defensive meetings before free agency begins on March 17.
“People always ask me how involved Sheila is,” special assistant Chris Spielman said Tuesday morning during an appearance on 97.1 The Ticket. “Well, Sheila has been involved by being in all of these staff meetings. She attended two days of offensive free agency meetings and defensive free agency meetings.
Owners have different styles across the league. Some, like Jerry Jones of Dallas and Shad Khan of Jacksonville, have taken control of the list’s constitution. Others, like the late William Clay Ford in Detroit, are never there at all. Martha Firestone Ford has been much more active during her years of ownership with the Lions, including going to training camp, attending almost every game, sitting in the draft hall, chatting with draft picks and potential free agents, etc.
Sheila Ford Hamp has been even more active since taking over from her mother last summer, including sacking the general manager and head coach she inherited just five months after taking over the team. She strongly sued Chris Spielman to join the franchise as a special assistant, and Spielman finally agreed after a few talks with Ford Hamp.
“She was the one who put me on top when I decided to do it or not,” Spielman said. “She is fabulous. Great leader. She is a leader for me. I was like, ‘Let’s go!’ I felt like I spoke to a head coach before a game. She gave me a speech in the locker room and I was ready to walk through the door of the hotel in Cincinnati. “
Ford Hamp was involved in the subsequent search for a new GM (Brad Holmes) and head coach (Dan Campbell), and now she attends these guys’ reunions as Detroit gears up for free will and the draft. , which will be essential for forming the backbone of the new approach.
It’s not uncommon in the NFL, and Spielman has been very clear that footballers like Holmes and Campbell have the final say in all decisions. But it’s certainly a more active ownership approach than the one we’ve seen in Detroit, as the new owner tries to understand every nook and cranny of her organization.
She even took Chris Spielman’s desk to the training center.
“I had an office when I got here, and all of a sudden I’m around the corner from the exit door,” Spielman told The Ticket. “So what happened? Well, Sheila wants this desk because it’s in the middle of everything, which is great. And that just shows her commitment and what she is. wants and how involved she is in these meetings and gives feedback, which is fun. It’s cool to see the commitment she has.
The Lions are busy preparing for their first free agency period of the new era. Campbell and Holmes share control of the roster, as part of a new, more collaborative team culture in the post-Quinntricia era in Detroit. Spielman and Property are apparently also involved in the process, and Spielman says they’ve had healthy disagreements before.
“I’ve been around everyday for two months now,” Spielman said. “I’ve been to the University Scout meetings, the communication between the Scouts and the ability to identify what type of player you want, and make it clear and communicated, and everyone has a voice and an opinion on what kind of player that is, and sometimes there are disagreements, but disagreements are good because you can get by and still explain why. And so between the professional staff and the university staff and Brad Holmes who run it, and Dan and Brad who run the staff meetings, it’s clear to me that everyone is on the same page with this. that I think is a productive disagreement sometimes.
What gives Detroit hope that it is finally on the right track after so many failed attempts at rebuilding?
“Well, I don’t have any guarantees,” Spielman said. “I think you (you just have to) give yourself the best opportunity to win, don’t you?” And build and do it right? Here’s how I see it: as long as during the interview process, if Brad Holmes says, “OK, I want everyone’s opinion, I want collaboration,” – he said that during the interview – – and I’ve witnessed it with his actions, it’s a good sign for the fans. Dan Campbell said in his interview that “I’m going to ask some coaches to come with me. “… Not only did he bring in a former head coach as offensive coordinator, Anthony Lynn, but he brought in two guys who interviewed for head coaching positions – whom some people see as future coaches. -chiefs – to Aaron Glenn and Duce Staley. And by the way, let’s help attract more talent with former head coach Dom Capers as the main assistant.
“I’ve always looked at coaches this way: great coaches surround themselves with talented people. Some coaches may not be as sure as Dan Campbell and might not hire guys they see as a threat. Dan and Brad did exactly what they said they would do during the interview process. Because anyone can say anything during the interview process until we see it with our own eyes, which I did, and now I feel like we’re giving ourselves away. the best chances of winning as soon as possible. And I don’t know when that will happen, but I am very confident that it will happen. “