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Free sports journalists Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez debate on January 4, 2021

who the Detroit Lions should hire as general manager and head coach.

Detroit Free Press

Wilbert Montgomery was running back as the Baltimore Ravens’ coach when a young scout he liked while they were both visiting the St. Louis Rams.

Montgomery led Scout Brad Holm into the Ravens’ office where he introduced Holmes to Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, a Hall-of-Fame player and pioneer general manager. It is one of the most respected assessors of talent in the NFL.

“I’m going to talk to him about the Ozzie Newsome,” Montgomery recalls. “And when I introduce him to Ozzie, I tell Ozzie, ‘This is next you, Ozzie, this guy will be like you someday.’ ”

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Holmes, now director of LA Rams’ college scouts, is one of the top candidates to serve as the next Detroit Lions general manager.

He was in Detroit for a second interview and first met with Team Brass on Wednesday after meeting Zoom owner Sheila Ford Hamp chairman Rod Wood and mentor Chris Spielman last week.

Holmes is also a finalist for the Atlanta Falcons’ vacant GM event.Though Holmes is one of the youngest NFL GMs at 41, former Montgomery Helping the Lions, who helped Holmes start spying, said he was ready for the role.

“Ozzie Newsome is my best friend, my good and good friend,” Montgomery said. “Ozzie and I went back to high school and I am happy to work with Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. I want to say that right now. (Holmes) was a very young Ozzie Newsome in his career. “

Newsome, the NFL’s first black general manager, helped create two Super Bowl winning teams in Baltimore, the first being vice president of player personnel and the second being GM.

He is known not only But only in the eager eyes But also the work ethic and the relationships he built, the traits Montgomery said he saw in Holmes.

“I’m just happy to die of what he has accomplished, and now he’s successful with LA Rams, and I’m just as happy as when you said he had the opportunity to come to an interview. Gomery said. “I can tell you, they will not be disappointed, they will not be disappointed because he is going to work and he is going to visit the coach, he will talk to the coach and he will try to bring the players there. That they are looking for “

Holmes played defensive line at North Carolina A&T and began in the NFL as a public relations intern with the Rams in 2003.

He told Yahoo in a 2019 interview that his intention from the start was to always get into football and Montgomery was one of the people who helped make that happen.

Montgomery said he learned of Holmes’ inspiration for lunch one day in the team cafeteria and the two paused to have regular conversations after training or meeting in the room. hall

over: Detroit Lions GM candidate Brad Holmes gets first-round selection in family tree.

Holmes eventually became a regular in Montgomery’s office, where they watched movies together, and the curious Holmes asked Montgomery with a question about what. Who he is looking for in a player and why

As Holmes’ public relations internship nears to an end, Montgomery introduces Holmes to the Rams GM Charlie Armey, who offers Holmes a spy intern. In the spring of that year

While Holmes mainly served as Gophers in the first spring, Montgomery said he helped coach Holmes to write scouting reports and Holmes wrote about several players. People in that year draft

Montgomery said he gave both his and Holmes reports to one of the team’s secretaries to log in, and Holmes’ work was presented in the form of a seasoned scout.

“Charlie couldn’t tell the difference,” Montgomery said. “That was the start of his career.”

Since then, Holmes has steadily climbed up the ranks with the Rams, surviving two regime changes and moving from St. Louis to one of the most trusted members of its reception. GM Les Snead

He helped run the Rams’ final eight draft and helped the team as a semi-final competitor – the Rams play the Green Bay Packers in a group play-off on Saturday – although no round selection was made. First since 2016

Holmes, in the 2019 video posted on the Rams website, said the Rams’ philosophy of building a team is to find smart patriotic players with explosive instincts and to be good teammates, and that’s what. Montgomery said he thinks Holmes will continue to do so as a GM.

(I told him) If anyone gets you, they will get great things. But they have a gem in you, ”Montgomery said. “They will get something because you will make them proud to be hired.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.