Good morning and ROOOOAAARRR!!!!!
The Detroit Lions could have lost him last month, could have seen Brian Xanders, the former Denver general manager who spent the past year helping to revamp some of the Lions' scouting procedures, depart for Miami.
For another shot at being a general manager. For a second chance to run an organization's personnel almost on his own. But Xanders didn't land the job with the Dolphins, and though Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew supported his colleague applying for that gig, he isn't upset to still have him around.
"He's certainly done a lot for us, was a good hire for us," Mayhew said at last week's NFL combine. "He's really helped us in terms of our database and getting our information together. He's a good evaluator. He's got experience. He's a guy you can bounce things off of.
"He's dealt with situations with agents. There are quite a few players he's been around in Atlanta and Denver, so he brings that to the table, too."
And his role increases this time of year. Detroit has spent the past month evaluating rookies and potential free agents, looking for pieces to add to a roster they believe has the capability to win now -- something that hasn't happened with the Lions on a consistent basis over the past 40 or so years.
A season ago, that meant Mayhew's best-ever draft and key free agent signings both in the offseason (Reggie Bush, Glover Quin), preseason (Rashean Mathis), and regular season (Jeremy Ross). Mayhew had a big role in that. So did Xanders. Free agency starts in less than two weeks, and the Lions have some holes to fill.
For them to have that win-now success, they have to follow up one strong offseason with a second beginning in March.
And now, a look around the Interwebs in search of Lions news:
The latest Meet the Free Agent is an important one for Detroit -- cornerback Rashean Mathis.
From colleague Pat Yasinskas, former Detroit safety Louis Delmas visited New Orleans.
Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press looks at the possible post-Dominic Raiola center options. Raiola, of course, is returning for 2014.
Greg Bedard from the MMQB lists Willie Young as the No. 41 free agent this season.
Kyle Meinke from MLive breaks down the tight end free agent class.