Lions remain in the dark about 'Hard Knocks'

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Is Lions coach Matt Patricia TV star material? Jon Gruden thinks so.

Phoenix — If HBO is zeroing in on the Detroit Lions as the featured team for its next season of "Hard Knocks," no one has told the Lions. 

"Not yet," general manager Bob Quinn said at the league meetings. "You guys will probably hear before me."

Team president Rod Wood shared Quinn's lack of insight on the topic. 

"It's an interesting thing, because as you all know, we're one of the teams that can be forced to be on it," Wood said. "I'd much rather end up in a position of not being forced to be on it. Since we're in that position, I guess we'll live with the consequences of what they decide.

"I've not really had any direct conversations about it," Wood continued. "I don't even know the timetable of when they make the decision. No one has talked to us about it, either. I don't know whether we're under consideration or whether we've already been eliminated and there's another team or two they're more interested in. I've not heard about it."

Rumors were circulating around the league's scouting combine last month that the Lions were likely to be HBO's choice. Wood said he won't comment on rumors. 

There are five teams eligible for the program this year. Eligibility is based on a set of three requirements. Qualifying teams cannot have a new coach, have made the postseason in the past two years or appeared on "Hard Knocks" in the past 10 years. 

The other eligible teams are Oakland, San Francisco, Washington and the New York Giants. 

The Lions and Raiders have playfully pitched each other for the show in recent weeks.  

"I think Jon Gruden is an excellent choice for that show,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said at the team's season ticket holder summit last month. “I think the Oakland Raiders and everything they‘ve got going on right now would be fantastic viewing for everybody to watch.”

Gruden fired back at the scouting combine. 

“Appreciate Matt Patricia, my friend, offering that up to me,” Gruden said. “That beard that Patricia has, he’s going to be a star. I mean he’s going to be one of the future television stars. I’d be surprised if 'Monday Night Football' doesn’t put him upstairs in the future."

Since that exchange, the Raiders have only become a more compelling option after trading for disgruntled Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. 

It's to the point Raiders owner Mark Davis is considering creative options to avoid the obligation.

"I told (Gruden), if they make us do it I'll fire you and then hire you right back," Davis said at the league meetings. "After all, they can't make you do it with a new coach."

If last year is any indication, a decision will be announced sometime in May.