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Detroit Lions will interview Thomas Dimitroff, Scott Pioli for GM job

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Lions are not yet leaving the Patriot Way – or Bill Belichick’s Scouting Tree -.

Two former NFL general managers who started at Belichick in Cleveland in the early 1990s and later rose with him in New England are reportedly due to interview next week for the Lions general manager position.

Former Kansas City GM Scott Pioli, who won three Super Bowl rings with the Patriots as hiring manager, will be interviewing the Lions next week, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This also applies to former Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, a two-time NFL manager of the year who also served as a Lions area scout in the mid-1990s, the NFL network reported.

You are the third and fourth known outside candidates on the Lions interview list, along with former Houston Texans GM Rick Smith, who is also on next week, and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, who will meet the Lions this week should.

The NFL does not allow teams to interview executives or coaches from other teams until after the regular season. Similar to Atlanta and Houston, two other teams with GM vacancies, Lions are using this month to meet with available candidates. Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp fired GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia, both of whom had spent their entire NFL careers at Belichick, New England, in late November, and promised to conduct an “extremely thorough and thorough search” for new leaders.

Dimitroff, a 54-year-old Ohio-American native, spent the last 12+ years in Atlanta building a team that played two NFC championship games and a berth at Super Bowl LI, where the Falcons were 28-3 ahead losing to the New England Patriots.

In New England, Dimitrov began as a senior executive and spent six years with the Patriots, first as a national boy scout and then from 2003 to 2007 as head of the team’s college scout.

Dimitroff was fired from the Falcons in October along with head coach Dan Quinn after Atlanta started 5-0 that season.

The 55-year-old Pioli headed the Chiefs’ Front Office for four years from 2009 to 2012. After being fired after a rocky 2-14 season in Kansas City, he took a year off before joining Dimitrov as assistant GM in Atlanta. He retired from this job in May 2019 and has since worked as an analyst for the NFL Network and CBS Sports.

The Lions have already interviewed three in-house candidates for their GM position: Player Staff Vice President Kyle O’Brien, Player Staff Director Lance Newmark, and Pro-Scouting Director Rob Lohman.

Lions President Rod Wood was asked earlier this week what emphasis the team placed on the experience of finding new leadership.

“Experience is certainly something we will consider,” Wood said Tuesday as the team announced that ex-Lions linebacker Chris Spielman would join the front office in a new special assistant role. “If someone has had previous experience as a GM or head coach, you may have a better opportunity to evaluate what they can do in both jobs, but that is not necessarily a requirement.

“I think we’re trying to find the best team, and if that means there are two first people, that’s what happens. If it means one of them has experience and one of them doesn’t, then that’s exactly what happens But when you have experience, you have an opportunity to evaluate whether they have succeeded in the job rather than trying to carry out projects. ”

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Twitter: @JohnNiyo

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Dusty Kennedy