Detroit Lions players have publicly pleaded for Jim Caldwell to remain on as head coach in 2016 and many, including quarterback Matthew Stafford, say they'll convey that personally to whomever gets the permanent general manager job.
As for that search, Lions team president Rod Wood said it would begin Monday with the team reaching out to prospective candidates.
"The GM search will start in earnest (Monday)," he said. "We'll be requesting interviews beginning (Monday) and I'm not sure when we'll get them scheduled."
Wood did say he hoped to have candidates start interviewing this week.
Interim general manager Sheldon White is "absolutely a candidate" and will be among those interviewed, Wood said.
The Lions are expected to reach out to possibly a half dozen candidates or more starting Monday.
"I've been working with Ernie (Accorsi) since the day we engaged him," Wood said of Accorsi, the former NFL GM and front office man hired to help them with their search. "A lot of the groundwork has been laid. We're ready to go."
NFL rules mandated that the Lions wait to reach out to candidates until after the regular season concluded. There are no stipulations, however, for the number of times a candidate can interview, even one still employed by a playoff team. A candidate can be hired during the playoffs.
"We're looking for someone who can help come in and build a winning program for the long haul," Wood said. "Hopefully someone who can take what we have on the field now, which we obviously demonstrated the second half of the season we've got talent, build on it and produce a winning team next year and the years beyond."
Wood reiterated that he doesn't think this is a rebuild situation, but rather a retool.
Jason Hanson was the Lions kicker for more than 20 years and holds every kicking record in team history.
Well, almost every record.
It took Matt Prater just two seasons to notch his name in the franchise record books after netting a 59-yard field goal as the first half expired in an eventual 24-20 win in Chicago Sunday.
The kick bested the two 56-yarders made by Hanson in 1994 and 2008.
Right tackle Michael Ola (ribs), safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (shoulder) and cornerback Crezdon Butler (hamstring) were injured at different times throughout the course of the game Sunday, but none returned to action.
Caldwell said after the game that he didn't expect any of those to be serious injuries that would require offseason surgery.
That's not necessarily the case for center Travis Swanson, however. Caldwell said the shoulder injury that put him on IR Saturday could require surgical repair in the offseason.
The Lions recorded four sacks on Jay Cutler Sunday, with Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor each recording one.
Ansah, a first-year Pro Bowler, finished the season with 14.5. Taylor had 7.0. In doing so, they became the first pair of Lions teammates since Robert Porcher and Tracy Scroggins in 1999 to finish with 20-plus combined.
"That pressure was evident all day long and I think we were good for four sacks," Caldwell said. "I have to attribute that to … coaching staff did a great job getting those guys ready, Kris (Kocurek), Matt (Raich) do a tremendous job.
"Teryl (Austin) on that side of the ball and the whole unit there with TO (Tony Oden) and Bill (Sheridan) and also Alan (Williams). It's a tremendous group of men."
-- Detroit became the fourth team since 1991 to start a season 1-7 and finish 6-2.