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NFL Franchise Notes: Lions make strides in diversity

In Detroit, Carlos Monarrez noted the Lions have been "formally recognized by the Fritz Pollard Alliance for a commitment to diversity in executive positions." Owner Sheila Ford Hamp spoke Friday night at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, indicating that the Lions "seem committed to pursuing more diversity in their hiring process throughout the organization." Coach Dan Campbell, despite being white, is "part of that hiring diversity because his coaching staff includes 10 Black men and one woman." The Lions also made a "major stride in diversity by hiring Brad Holmes, one of three" Black GMs hired this season (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/5).

POORLY HANDLED: In Tampa, John Romano wrote regarding the forged vaccine card controversy around Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown, the team "at every turn" has "tried to paint themselves as either clueless or helpless." The Bucs "should not get a free pass just because they cooperated with a subsequent NFL investigation." Everything they "have said -- and failed to say -- gives the impression that they are more concerned with keeping Brown on the roster" than anything else. Coach Bruce Arians "repeatedly called it a non-story," and the team’s official statement "involved a lot of non-denial denials that gave the impression there was no reason to suspect anything was amiss." While Brown "was duping them, the Bucs were duping you" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/4).

MILE HIGH AND RISING: In Denver, Mark Kiszla noted first-year Broncos GM George Paton, who "stepped into the long shadow of John Elway when replacing him in the front office, is beginning to look like a legitimate candidate for NFL executive of the year." The "best reason to believe a return to championship greatness might finally be within sight is the work Paton has done since being hired by the Broncos in January." In less than one year, he "has driven a defeatist vibe from the locker room." Paton has "rolled up his sleeves and worked at revitalizing Denver as a destination city in this league" (DENVER POST, 12/4).

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