Shortly after accepting the position of Vice President & General Manager of the Detroit Lions in January, Bob Quinn and the franchise were hit with a bombshell when the teams’ best player and likely first ballot Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson decided to retire from the NFL. Quinn joined The Jim Rome Show on Wednesday and was asked if he ever tried to talk the 30-year-old out of his decision.
“I did not try to talk him out of it,” Quinn, the former New England Patriots executive, said. “I felt over the years, my years of experience, when a player starts talking about retirement, they’ve already kind of made their decision in their mind. So to kind of talk someone out of it, I don’t think that would be in the best interest for the team.
“So we gave Calvin, and his family, and his representatives a lot of time to make that decision. We had a number of conversations throughout the month of February and March, and it came down to a couple days before free agency which was really when we needed to know, just so we could plan ahead on filling some needs during the early parts of free agency.”
After Johnson’s decision, the team moved quickly in signing wideout Marvin Jones in free agency, but Quinn said it’s not feasible for any one player to fill Johnson’s role.
“There’s no one that can replace Calvin Johnson, so were going to have to do this as a team,” Quinn said. “And I think that goes from Marvin Jones, to Golden Tate to Jeremy Kerley to T.J. Jones to Eric Ebron to Brandon Pettigrew to [Theo] Riddick to [Ameer] Abdullah. This is going to be a team effort here. We cannot replace that type of player and that type of production with just one guy.”
Having been on the job for a few months and witnessed OTA’s firsthand, Quinn is extremely excited about what’s he’s seen from quarterback Matthew Stafford already.
“I think Matthew is a really good quarterback,” Quinn said. “When I evaluated this team during last season, prior to taking this job, I thought he was a good quarterback. But I think when you step into a job like this, you really don’t have a true evaluation on everyone in the roster until you actually get into the building and you’re around them at practice, and fortunately, we’re in our third week of OTA’s now, so we’ve had I think five OTA’s practices under our belt, so seeing him out on the practice field throwing the balls to the receivers dealing with the offensive line, you can really see the talent he has live and in person.”
Quinn explained the type of team he’s trying to build around Stafford and seemed positive with what they’ve acquired in this first off-season in charge.
“Big, tough, strong, dependable, hard-working,” Quinn said of the attributes he wants from his team. “You can’t be competitive in this league without strong offensive and defensive lines, and I really felt like during this draft, with the 10 picks we acquired, that we did a good job of improving the depth of the team, not just across the offensive and defensive lines but at linebacker. We drafted a long snapper and I think that’s a really important position as well, so we’re trying to improve the team every day, and I think through the draft and free agency we’ve done a decent job and we’re continuing to look at the personnel notice and the waiver wire every day.”