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10 takeaways from Rod Wood's media session

ORLANDO – Lions team president Rod Wood spoke to a contingent of Lions reporters at the Annual League Meetings on Monday and covered a variety of topics.

Here are my 10 biggest takeaways from that session:

1. New uniforms coming

The Lions will be rolling out new uniforms right before the draft. Wood said they honor the past with a look to the future, and said he was extremely happy with the final results, which was a process years in the making.

"I think the fans are going to be really excited about it," Wood said.

Wood didn't want to say too much before the reveal in April but did mention the new uniforms will honor the franchise's traditional colors 'with a little updating and twist.'

2. Decision to release CB Cam Sutton

The Lions learned of the warrant issued for Sutton by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Florida on one count of domestic battery by strangulation the same time everyone else did when the warrant was revealed on X (formerly Twitter).

Wood said the team talked to Sutton and suggested he get legal counsel and turn himself in.

"After that we met the rest of the day and the following morning decided to release him," Wood said. "It was a difficult decision but was the right decision and we're moving on."

The Lions released Sutton with a post June 1 designation which means they'll be able to spread his cap hit over the next two seasons.

3. Contract extensions for Brad Holmes, Dan Campbell and Chris Spielman

Wood said it was something that was on his mind and owner Sheila Hamp's mind during the season.

"They were a little off kilter because Dan had one more year than Brad and I wanted to get that aligned. So, we gave Brad two extra years, Dan one extra year and then revamped and redid their contract for the last couple years."

Wood said the moves provide continuity. Teams that have been successful year in and year out in the NFL have continuity at the top.

"That's the approach we're going to pursue," Wood said.

4. NFL Draft in Detroit

Detroit is expecting a huge turnout. Wood encouraged people to stay up to date with the traffic patterns and draft footprint.

"Very excited to see all those people downtown and get the whole world to see Detroit maybe in a different way than what they perceive right now," he said. "It's going to be a great three-day commercial for the city."

5. Ticket price increases

The decision to raise ticket prices isn't taken lightly, but the Lions ranked 31st in average ticket price last season. The rise in prices this offseason leaves them just under the league average, per Wood.

"It's really where the market is," he said. "We've had 96 percent renewal rate, so nobody has really abandoned their tickets. We still have I think it's approaching 20,000 people on a wait list. And we've been very cautious over the years recently not increasing the prices and have really fallen quite a bit behind the league average and this barely catches us up to just below league average."

6. Schedule requests for 2024?

Wood has been very transparent in the past with the conversations he's had with the league when it pertains to the schedule. He said he had no complaints about last year's schedule. He said the only thing he'd like to see in 2024 is for their bye week to be in the middle part of the season like it was a year ago.

Wood said he expects a lot of primetime and 4:45 games this season.

Go behind the scenes with the Detroit Lions during 2024 free agency.

7. International marketing deals in Canada, Germany, Austria and Switzerland

The Lions sat on the sidelines with these international marketing deals the last few years. Wood said he wanted to watch what other teams were doing and learn from them.

"Canada is a natural given the proximity," Wood said. "With Germany and the number of games being played there and particularly with (Amon-Ra) St. Brown's popularity it's kind of a natural thing to draft off of his popularity and vice versa because I know he wants to do some things over there."

St. Brown's mother is German and he speaks fluent German. Wood said the team is overdue to play a game internationally and expects to do so soon if not this year with Chicago and Minnesota having home games in London.

8. Cowboys controversy

Wood was in charge of contacting the league and speaking to them following the eligible reporting incident at the end of the Dallas game late in the season.

He called Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent at 9 a.m. Sunday, but Vincent was at church. He received a call back at 10 a.m.

Wood's response: "Did you pray for better officiating?"

Vincent's response: "I always do."

The two talked but really nothing came of it. The team logs their complaint, and the league says they'll try to do better in the future. That's the process.

9. Team report card

Over 1,700 players provided information to share with one another about their current club, to not only help them make important career decisions, but also help raise standards across the league. The goal is to highlight positive clubs, identify areas that could use improvement, and highlight best practices and standards.

The Lions got pretty good marks across the board but their lowest performing area, according to the players, was in food service.

Wood said the team is taking the report card seriously. He said they are a little bit landlocked in terms of what they can do to increase the size of the kitchen. They have to be creative, but they are making improvements and will continue to look at ways to improve that area of the operation.

After getting low marks last year in training staff and training room, the Lions added to their staff and doubled their training room capacity.

10. All three coordinators return in 2024

Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson had six teams reach out to him, and Wood knew he was a strong candidate.

"I thought it was unlikely that he would be back," Wood said. "But the more I talked to Ben as he went through the process, I had a sense that maybe he wanted to be back."

Wood mentioned some unfinished business from Johnson's standpoint.

Wood said defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn was more interested in pursuing a head coaching opportunity. It hurt Glenn he couldn't be interviewed during the Championship Game week. It's something Wood said he's talked to the league about.

"There's some oddities of when you can and when you can't interview these guys," he said. "Ben is an example. Had six teams that wanted to talk to him, and you have to interview him that Wild Card weekend or you can't talk to him until after the Super Bowl. He couldn't even hardly fit in six interviews.

"Then leading up to the conference championship you can't be interviewed for a head coaching position if you're playing in it but there's this oddity that if someone wants to interview one of your guys for a coordinator job you have to make them available. I've made the league aware of my views on both of those things and see if they make any other changes."

Wood said he is happy the continuity is in place with Holmes, Campbell, Johnson, Glenn and Dave Fipp leading the football side of the organization.

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