NFC North: Rod Smart

We noted Wednesday morning that Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew had a history with the short-lived XFL, a connection that ultimately led to a rare tryout for German receiver Christian Bollmann. Many of you asked what Mayhew did with the XFL, and considering the league's relatively scandalous run, I wanted to make sure I was explicit.

No, Mayhew did not play with a silly made-up nickname on the back of his jersey. Nor did he ambush coaches after games for postgame interviews. (That was Rod Smart and Jesse Ventura, governor of the great state of Minnesota at the time.) My understanding is that Mayhew was the league official charged with making the football as legitimate as possible.

Mayhew left the XFL to join the Lions in February 2001, just before the XFL season opened. But in his time there, according to an early Lions biography of Mayhew, he was "instrumental in developing policies and procedures for the start-up pro football league. Mayhew also organized training camps and supervised team officials in planning of practices and other team activities."

So there you go, for the record. Now I just hope He (Won't) Hate Me for bringing it up.

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