Lions team president Rod Wood spoke to media members Wednesday following the conclusion of the two-day virtual owners meetings.
Here are 10 takeaways from that media session:
1. As expected, NFL owners approved a 17-game regular season beginning this fall. Owners built the right to expand the regular season into the collective bargaining agreement last spring.
This season, the Lions will play in Denver for their 17th game.
Detroit will play home-and-away games against Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota, home games against San Francisco, Arizona, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Baltimore, and road games against the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Denver.
2. In a normal offseason, teams with new head coaches are allowed to begin the offseason training program a couple weeks early, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, every team will begin their programs at the same time on April 19, and the program will begin virtually. Asked if there's a possibility for an in-person element to the offseason program, Wood said he's hopeful that by the time teams begin the minicamp and later stages of OTA practices, those could be in person on the field.
"I think we're getting in the direction of normal, but we're not quite there yet," Wood said.
3. Every team will be required to host an international game over an eight-year period in England, Mexico or Germany starting in either 2022 or 2023. With the added 17th game, teams will still be able to host eight home games in their own stadium.
4. Wood is hopeful fans will be back at Ford Field in the fall. He said vaccinations will be a "key step" in the process.
"I think if we continue on this trend, there's a pretty good chance we're going to have large gatherings of fans this fall, whether it's a full stadium or not, I certainly hope it's going to be way more than 750 friends and family, that's for sure," he said.
5. There will be no changes in ticket prices for the 2021 season.
6. The Lions are nearing the five-year window where they can make tweaks to their uniforms since their last change. Wood said he's thought about some changes but nothing is in the design phase.
7. There was some public discussion recently about Wood and owner Sheila Ford Hamp sitting in on football meetings this offseason. Wood said he and Hamp were invited to those meetings by general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell. It aligns with the more inclusive culture between the current football operations department and the rest of the organization.
"I think it's a good way of building the culture we wanted," Wood said. "Everyone wants to be heard, everyone wants to be included and that starts from the top with Sheila all the way down."
8. Players will not be required to get COVID-19 vaccines, but Wood said the team will encourage them to get the vaccine and educate them on why it's important and the safety measures that are in place.
9. The Lions are hopeful they'll be a serious contender to host the 2024 NFL Draft.
10. Wood spoke on the success so far of the FEMA vaccination site at Ford Field. He said the site was running very efficiently and they had a high-water mark of 5,800 vaccine doses in one day this week. Wood said the Lions will continue to support the effort as long as they're asked to do so.