ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Rod Wood described himself as a lifelong Detroit Lions fan who has Matthew Stafford on his fantasy team.
He acknowledged his lack of a football background, but said he’s ready to help Detroit become a more successful organization.
“I would probably say that I’m not qualified to run any other NFL team, but I think I’m qualified to run this one because of the connection to the Ford family and understanding the business,” said Wood, Detroit’s new team president. “One of the key things I think is to understand ownership’s wishes and goals and push that through the entire organization.”
Wood spoke with reporters Friday at the team’s facility in Allen Park, a day after the Lions announced he’d be taking over as president. The Lions are owned by Martha Firestone Ford, and Wood has worked closely with the Ford family over the past eight years in his role as president and CEO of Ford Estates.
His hiring by the Lions has been met with skepticism because ownership didn’t bring in more of an outsider, but Wood will deal primarily with the business side of the organization. The Lions are still in the market for a general manager.
“Certainly we’re going to do a national search for the general manager. That’s not changed,” Wood said. “I think my advising relationship with (Ford) kind of led her to decide that getting me in place to run the business side was first and foremost something they needed so things could get settled down, then we could go about the search for the general manager.”
The Lions fired team president Tom Lewand and GM Martin Mayhew earlier this month. Wood said he was involved in discussions leading up to the decision to dismiss them, but Ford made the final decision.
Wood drew a laugh after he was asked what the future might hold for high-priced players such as Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
“I’m going to leave that to the general manager, but they’re great players,” he said. “Matthew is the quarterback on my fantasy team if that means anything.”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@Lions