The Lions are already on the prowl for new leadership, thanks to some assistance from the league. Jeff Hanisch USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are in the preliminary stages of replacing their recently fired executives, general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand. The team has hired a search firm to help gather information on qualified candidates, according to NFL Media's Gil Brandt.

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In her prepared statement last week, Lions owner Martha Ford promised fans that the team would put forth a diligent search for new leadership.

"I want to assure our fans that we intend to identify and hire the very best leadership in order to produce a consistently winning football team," Ford said, via the Detroit Free Press. "Our fans deserve a winning football team, and we will do everything possible to make it a reality."

The NFL has a special panel of experts ready to go for situations like this. The league's vice president of communication, Brian McCarthy, named the members of the panel and described their duties to the Free Press:

And that's made up of a who's who of people in the football industry. And it ranges from John Madden to Bill Polian to Ron Wolf, Dennis Green, Tony Dungy, Ernie Accorsi, Carl Peterson, James Harris, Mike Holmgren.

And this group meets several times during the season. Met after Week 4, just met this previous week. They'll meet again after Week 12, after Week 16 and they do work on identifying coach-ready candidates, GM candidates and also making recommendations for team presidents. And so this team works throughout the year to identify a list of best candidates who would be ready to step into positions now.

Whoever this panel deems fit to run the Lions will have plenty of work to do. The franchise has no clear direction for the future, so it's going to be one tough rebuilding job in Detroit.

(h/t Detroit Free Press)

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