Detroit Lions GM, Brad Holmes’ Remarkable Gridiron Hero Story

Brad Holmes is adding fuel for the Detroit Lions, like a Ford Galaxie and LTD on a NASCAR track, as the Detroit Lions are on the road to Las Vegas to win the Super Bowl.

His passion for his team has resonated with players, staff, and One Pride fans. He’s seen on the fields high-fiving fans. He went viral this month, yelling out of passion in the elevator after the Lions’ playoffs. The team that hasn’t made a playoff appearance since 2016 has a chance to advance to the Super Bowl on Sunday’s NFC Championshp game at the San Francisco 49ers.

Holmes made a remarkable change for the Detroit Lions franchise in his third year as a general manager. On top of the existing roster, he pieced together draft talent and key players in free agency, like an automotive assembler at a Ford Michigan Assembly Plant, building a solid team.

An excited Brad Holmes in the elevator celebrating the Lions win against the Los Angeles Rams, January 14, 2024; Photo Credit: NFL

He acquired Jared Goff in a trade, along with the Rams’ 2022 and 2023 draft picks and the 2021 third-round pick. 2023 may be his most impressive draft class yet, as both first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs and second-round pick Sam LaPorta are up for Offensive Rookie of the Year, while he’s gotten significant defensive contributions out of first-round linebacker Jack Campbell and second-round nickel cornerback Brian Branch, per One Pride of Detroit.

In addition, Holmes has seen his very first draft class expand into likely the best in the 2021 NFL Draft. Penei Sewell and Amon-Ra St. Brown were named first-team All-Pro this year. Alim McNeill finished in PFF’s top-10 graded interior defensive tackles. Linebacker Derrick Barnes and defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu had breakout seasons after quiet starts to their young NFL careers, per One Pride of Detroit.

Holmes was recently named NFL Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.

The Official Release from the PFWA:

“Holmes directed the Lions return to a division title and the NFC’s No. 3 seed in 2023. Detroit was 12-5 this season, which tied for the most victories in a season in Lions history. The Lions were 6-3 on the road, tying a franchise road victory record, and the club did not lose consecutive games the entire season for the first time since 1962. The Lions also won seven games by 10 or more points for the first time since 1997.”

Behind his passion is an inspirational story of a man who overcame obstacles and reached heights, making a name for himself. Brad Holmes, son of a former Pittsburgh Steelers player, Melvin Holmes, majored in journalism and mass communication at North Carolina A&T State University. He played football in college and was named team captain for the Aggies. Holmes was involved in a car accident while visiting his home in Tampa, Florida, leaving him in a coma for a week. After recovering fully, he was cleared to play his final college football season in 2001.

Detroit Lions game and celebration against the Tamp Bay Buccaneers; Photo Credit: Getty Images

After graduating, he worked at Enterprise, attempting to break into the sports world. He was a public relations intern for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, which was his introduction to the sports business. From there, he grew into the business, working as a Scout and Director of College Scouting for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams before taking on the Detroit Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager role.

What’s also interesting about Holmes’ story is that he acquires jobs from the same team his uncle and cousin were drafted by. His uncle, Luther Bradley, was a defensive back for the Detroit Lions, drafted in the 1978 first round, and his cousin, Alex Barron, was a 2005 first-round pick for the Rams.

Holmes’ is the story of a man who transcends greatest for the Detroit Lions. If they win, this will be a massive turnaround for Holmes and the team, as it will be their first Super Bowl appearance since 1957. The Lions have a chance to advance and roll out the dice on the gridiron in Vegas to compete for a championship on the big stage.

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