Transcript: What Sheila Ford Hamp said after firing Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia
For the first time since June, when she became the primary owner of the Lions, Sheila Ford Hamp met with the media on Saturday to discuss her decision to fire general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia.
Here's what she had to say, in full. The questions are paraphrased.
► Opening statement:
"As you've heard, earlier this afternoon, Rod Wood and I met with Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia and informed them that we are moving in a different direction. On behalf of my family, I wanted to thank Bob and Matt for their hard work and their dedication to the Lions organization over the last several years. They're both very fine men and we wish them nothing but the best in the rest of their careers. Obviously, this season has not gone the way we expected. We want to take the rest of this year to assess every aspect of our football operation and find the best individuals to lead and coach our team. For the remainder of this season, Darrell Bevell will be our interim coach. I expect Darrell and our team to play hard and compete in our remaining five games. Our football executives, including Kyle O'Brien, Lance Newmark, Rob Lohman and Mike Disner will report directly to Rod Wood for the balance of this season as we analyze our organizational structure and evaluate candidates for our general manager position.
"To our loyal fans, we know this has been a challenging year for everyone. Not having our fans around to support our team has been difficult for all of us. Football this season has looked and felt different, but it doesn't change the fact that we play for you. As I said in my opening press conference, I will do everything I can to put a winning team on the field for our fans and the city of Detroit. Unfortunately, we haven't won enough over the last three seasons, and our efforts to find the right leadership for the Lions begins today. Thank you very much and I'm happy to answer your questions."
Q: Did the last two games impact this decision?
"Honestly, yes. You know, 10 days ago, we looked like we had a good chance to be playoff-bound and both of those games were extremely disappointing. It just seemed like the path going forward wasn't what we wanted it to be, so, yes, we thought this was a good time to make the change."
Q: Is this you being true to your word about needing to play meaningful games in December?
"Yes. Hope so. I meant what I said last December and I still mean it. So yes, things were not going well, it was not what we wanted, we were hoping to be playoff-bound — I guess we still have a slight mathematical chance — but things were just not seeming to go in the right way."
Q: Are you looking to stick with a traditional power structure or will you consider giving a coach more decision-making power?
"We’re going to look at it all. We haven’t made that decision yet. We’ll probably have to do what the candidates we’re looking at, and how that would play out, but we’re open. We have not set that yet."
Q: What are the attributes you're looking for in the next coach and general manager?
"Again, that’s not completely defined yet. All that — I promise you. We are going to do an extremely thorough and comprehensive search for both positions. And yes, we have some ideas on what we’re looking for, but again, not clearly defined. I have a feeling today you’re going to have a lot more questions than I’m going to have answers to. So, I’ll do the best I can."
Q: Will you be utilizing a search firm to identify candidates?
"Again, we're open. We've talked about that. We probably will. We're going to be talking to a lot of people and using a lot of resources simultaneously. We're not going to just rely on one avenue. There's going to be several things we're doing."
Q: Was there a moment you knew you had to make this decision?
"You know, it's hard. It's a hard decision, because as I said, they're both terrific people, they work very hard and tirelessly for this organization. It just clearly wasn't working, it wasn't what we had hoped for when we hired them, and so I don't know if there was an exact moment. It's something we've been thinking about for several weeks, and going back and forth in deciding. But clearly, the last couple games had a lot to do with it."
Q: Were the Quinn and Patricia decisions viewed as a package deal?
"We looked at it from all angles."
Q: Will you consider a college coach?
"Again, we're going to be looking at everything."
Q: Why did you bring Patricia and Quinn back for the 2020 season?
"Well, as I said last year in December, you know, last year was an unusual season also. We seem to be stacking up unusual seasons for different reasons. But, you know, we had hoped this year, the third year, things would gel and Matt's process and his coaching ability and everything would come together in a good way. And then it just became clear it wasn't working."
Q: How important is it that the next regime understands the Lions' history?
"We can’t hide our past, that’s for sure. But I think I’m very dedicated to turning this ship around and really making a difference, and hopefully we won’t have to look back very much. We’ll just look forward."
Q: Will Matthew Stafford be part of the organization's future?
"Well since I'm not the coach, I'm probably not the right person to ask that question to. So, we'll see what the new coach has to say."
Q: What are your thoughts on Stafford's time in Detroit?
"I think he’s an extremely talented young man, and he’s tough as nails. It’s been tough for him. Again, I think coach will make that decision."
Q: Why will these hires be different?
"There are no guarantees. All I can say is, you know, I'm going to work as hard as I can, along with Rod, and we are going to make this into an extremely thorough and comprehensive search, and we're going to do the very best we can."
Q: Did it concern you that former players publicly criticized Patricia?
"Are you asking me if his leadership style was a problem? You know, players are going to have different ideas. Some players are going to think one way, some are going to think another. Not really, no. (We were) hoping that it was going to pull all together, and I think in many ways, we've got a really talented team, or a talented team. And I think we should have come together better than we have. And I guess we just felt like the leadership wasn't getting that job done."
Q: Will you again lean on the league to help with the search?
"Again, we're going to lean on all sorts of resources, and the league will probably be one of them. Rod, and I too, but Rod particularly, has some really terrific relationships there, and so we'll ask questions of them and put together a list of other people we want to talk to. As I say, it'll be a very comprehensive process, and we're going to talk to a ton of people."
Q: How long have you been looking ahead at making a possible change?
"Obviously it's something that's been on my mind. I want to do the right thing by this organization and that's the bottom line. Hoped that this season would've been played out differently, but it hasn't. It just felt like now is the time to make the change and to really begin to look forward."
Q: Will Rod Wood continue in his current role?
"I have no plans to change what Rod is doing. But, you know, we're looking at some organizational chart moves. It's all going to be part of this process."
Q: How can the decisions your parents made shape the future decisions you will make?
"Hindsight is 20-20. Yes, mistakes have been made and I'll be the first one to admit when I'm making mistakes too. I'll look at that, but I really would rather look forward and try to really dig into what's in front of me and make this, hopefully, a home run for us. It's going to be a lot of work. Rod and I are rolling up our sleeves already and we're going to get to work immediately."
Q: Will the pandemic impact your decisions, financially?
"We've done a thorough financial study of things and I think we're prepared to handle whatever we need to handle."