Lions Reportedly Set to Interview Former AFC Executive for GM Job

Rick Smith

Getty Rick Smith during an event when he was Houston's executive.

The Detroit Lions have seen one of their first names officially surface from the outside as it relates to the impending general manager search and it’s a pretty accomplished one indeed.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, former Houston Texans’ general manager Rick Smith will interview with the Lions in the coming weeks for their vacant general manager position. The interview is expected to be completed before the Christmas holiday on December 25.

Smith could be one of the hottest general manager candidates this offseason considering his experience. While Smith did not win a Super Bowl as an executive, he managed to put together a solid roster in Houston that routinely contended in the AFC South and made the postseason.

So far, Smith along with other experienced names such as Jerry Reese and John Dorsey are the first to surface in connection with Detroit, pointing to the fact the Lions could be interested in someone who’s done the job before. Detroit figures to cast a wide net though, and could look elsewhere toward successful playoff teams for executives. They could be interested in speaking with Buffalo’s Joe Schoen as well.


Rick Smith Biography

Smith, 50, started off his career in football with coaching at Purdue from 1992-1995. From there, he transitioned to the NFL and was an assistant defensive backs coach with the Denver Broncos from 1996-1999 where he captured a pair of Super Bowls. He made the jump to the executive side in 2000, working with the Broncos’ as director of pro personnel until 2005. At age 36 in 2006, Smith became the youngest general manager in the NFL when he was promoted to take over for Charley Casserly in Houston.

In 2016, Smith’s executive career was put on hold with his wife was diagnosed with breast Cancer. He elected to step away to care for her, and eventually took a leave of absence from football. Eventually, Smith was replaced by Bill O’Brien, who held the title of general manager as well as head coach.


Why Rick Smith Makes Sense for Lions GM

If it’s experience that the Lions are seeking in their next boss, that’s just what Smith has. He has plenty of experience working on the executive side with the Texans and constructing a team that won multiple division titles. Smith has drafted plenty of elite players in his time in addition to being a player that won a pair of Super Bowls, and he could be ready to get back in the game after exiting an EVP role in Houston. Smith put together drafts which yielded players such as Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, Zach Cunningham, Will Fuller and Benardrick McKinney.

The Lions could badly need a steady hand to help guide their franchise, and it’s not as if Smith was fired in Houston. He left the team to tend to personal matters. Sadly, Tiffany Smith has since passed away. Now, Smith could have the desire to get back in the game and the Lions could offer him a great place with which to work in order to do so. He has an eye for talent and has been able to deliver players who can fit schemes well.


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