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At his introductory press conference, new Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia talks about his goals for the Lions and their fan base. Daniel Mears, The Detroit News

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Allen Park —The whispers began as soon as Bob Quinn was hired as general manager of the Lions in January 2016: When will he bring in one of his New England guys to transform a franchise starved for a winner?

At the time, Josh McDaniels was a hot name because of his experience as a head coach, as well as the fact he was Tom Brady’s right-hand man.

As it turns out, Quinn had a lot more of a personal relationship with New England’s other assistant and new Lions head coach, Matt Patricia. The two have been talking football with each other for more than a decade, and Quinn profiled their history together at Wednesday’s introductory press conference.

“In the 12 years that we worked together, those are long hours, long drives to look at players, long conversations in your office late at night,” Quinn said. “There was hours upon hours that were built up over those 12 years that really made the interview process seamless. It was like we were back in his office talking football again.”

While it’s always spun that the new head coach of any team is the best fit, it’s obvious this relationship probably goes to the core of Quinn’s hiring of his former co-worker.

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At one point, Quinn said he and Patricia are “tied at the hip” when it comes to personnel decisions. That’s a statement can be construed as Quinn directly tying his professional future to an old friend, but it appears to be a working relationship both are excited about.

“My meeting with (Quinn) was one where I walked in the room and things just started to click,” Patricia said. “Ideas, philosophies, the way you want an organization to be run. (Our) working relationship is outstanding and has been previously. My comfort level with (Quinn) is huge, and there’s no reason to think that it wouldn’t be moving forward.”

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While a lot of Lions fans expect Quinn and Patricia to follow what’s been dubbed “The Patriot Way,” Patricia was quick to point out that he and Quinn are more interested in following their own philosophies on how to build a team.

“I think it’s hard to categorize a ‘way,’ ” Patricia said. “(Quinn) and I have a lot of history together and we believe in the same things as far as how you look at and evaluate players. There’s a great background that we share and a common ground that we both understand. That’s what makes it a great match.”

“We can try to put a team in place that we feel represents what we believe in and what we want the Detroit Lions to look like. After you have some success, that’s when you start calling it ‘The Lions Way.’ ”

Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.

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