Quinn had 12 hours of meetings with Caldwell before making decision

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Jim Caldwell

Lions general manager Bob Quinn explained some of the thought process that led to the retention of Jim Caldwell as head coach during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday night.

In addition to talking to his sources around the NFL, Quinn said he and Caldwell met for nearly 12 hours before the new GM decided to keep Caldwell in Detroit for 2016.

“We had a series of meetings,” Quinn said. “It wasn’t just one day; it wasn’t just one hour. It was over a couple of days and almost a dozen hours, so it was really a getting-to-know-you session to see if my philosophy and his philosophy could mesh so we could build this team.”

The Lions went 7-9 in 2015, but finished 6-2 after a 1-7 start. After the team announced that Caldwell would remain the coach, several players lauded the move on social media.

During his introductory news conference last week, Quinn said the decision on Caldwell’s future would be his and his alone, and he took five days before announcing the coach would be back.

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“I came in with no preconceived notions,” Quinn said. “I didn’t know Coach Caldwell personally, didn’t know him professionally. I did my research on him through my sources in the league and got back great feedback from everybody that I spoke to. And then I went into it, like you said, with an open mind.”

The Lions hired Caldwell in 2014 after he was offensive coordinator with the Ravens. He was also head coach for the Colts from 2009-11 and at Wake Forest from 1993-2000.

“Over the course of his career, he has coached on different sides of the ball,” Quinn said. “He’s been a head coach in college; he’s been a head coach in the NFL at now two teams. He did a really good job in Baltimore in the short time he was there, so I think his wide range of experience and his ability to coach the entire team — not just one side of the ball — was something that was really intriguing to me.”

Quinn also discussed Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford during the interview, saying the family-run business made the GM job attractive.

“Mrs. Ford was great,” he said. “She’s a woman with great integrity. She’s very, very smart, and I’d say the one thing that I came through the interview process with was she really wants to the win. And she deserves to win in this city because this is a great city for football. They love their Lions, and I’m here to help build them along with Coach Caldwell and bring a winner to the city of Detroit.”