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Lions in support of changing coaching hire rule

ORLANDO – If Detroit Lions team president Rod Wood has his way, no other team will have to go through the long, drawn out hiring process the Lions went through this offseason to hire their new head coach Matt Patricia.

There is a resolution proposal up for vote at this week's annual meetings that would permit a club to negotiate and sign a head coach candidate during the postseason prior to the conclusion of the current club's season. It's a proposal Wood said the Lions are very much in favor of.

Detroit's leadership targeted Patricia as their next head coach after an extensive interview process, but couldn't sign him to a contract until after New England's season was over, which wasn't until February after the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl.

If the new proposal passes, candidates would still work with their current teams until their season is concluded, but a contract could be signed by both parties so at least the club could move forward with the hiring of assistants and other important post-hire duties.

"We'll be voting in favor of it," Wood said Monday. "In essence, we would have been able to negotiate a contract, sign a contract, hire assistant coaches, all the things that you want to be able to do.

"He (Patricia) would have stayed with the Patriots until their season was done. I think it's better for everybody. It's a distraction for the coaches who are going through the interview process, their families not knowing exactly where they're going to end up, to the team that's trying to hire a coach and even the team that the coach is coaching for. That distraction is out there, whether a contract is signed or not. I think having it done is better for everyone."

The proposal was put forward last year but wasn't as refined as NFL ownership thought it needed to be before passing, Wood said. So, the proposal was pulled.

It was brought back this offseason for obvious reasons.

The Indianapolis Colts and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels agreed to terms for him to become their new head coach during New England's playoff run, only to see McDaniels change his mind after the Super Bowl, deciding to stay with the Patriots and leaving the Colts in the tough position of having to reopen their interview process in February.

"Our feeling was for too many years we tried to hold that line on you can't sign a contract, but you can have an understanding that you're going to be the coach," competition committee chairman Rich McKay said in a conference call Friday.

"We just felt like we need to get over that hurdle and propose that you can sign the contract. It doesn't mean you can work. You've got to stay with your team. But the contract in our mind was something we needed to get behind us."

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