Lions fire football operations VP Saunders

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Cedric Saunders

Cedric Saunders understood the decision new Lions general manager Bob Quin made.

“I’ve been there ten years,” Saunders told The Detroit News Friday night. “We hadn’t done enough to stay.”

Quinn fired Saunders, who was the senior vice president of football operations, Friday as he continued to remake the Lions’ personnel department.

Saunders joined the Lions in 2006 after five years working for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and two with the Kansas City Chiefs. With the new GM looking to build his own staff, Saunders said he kind of expected he’d be let go.

“We kind of get tied to the last regime,” he said. “When a new guy comes in, you want to bring people in that you know.”

Saunders was one of the top lieutenants for former general manager Martin Mayhew. In his most recent position, Saunders managed the budget for the coaching staff and personnel department and assisted in player personnel and contract negotiations. He also oversaw the video, equipment, travel, security and other departments.

Before his most recent promotion in 2015, Saunders was the vice president of football operations from 2008-14. He was promoted to director of football operation in 2007.

Quinn has now fired two of the longest-tenured men in the Lions personnel department. He dismissed longtime scout Scott McEwen last week.

Now, Saunders will look for his next job with another NFL team.

“(I was) lucky enough to be there 10 years," he said. "The Fords were great owners, and we appreciate everything they did.

“I knew at some point it’d have to change, especially if we weren’t as successful as we wanted to be.”