Brad Holmes, General Manager for the Detroit Lions, gained viral attention in
the past two weeks for celebrating in the elevator after his team’s victories over the Rams and Buccaneers. The passion and energy he exudes in the clip perfectly encompasses the culture and attitude of the Detroit Lions for the last three seasons. When Holmes was hired in 2021, he was tasked with changing the culture and turning around a franchise that had not made the playoffs since 2016 and had not won a playoff game since 1992. Throughout his career in sports, Holmes has embodied the toughness, grit, and determination
that he would come to expect from the Lions.

Aggies Do

For Holmes, football ran in the family, with both his dad and his uncle playing
in the NFL in the ’70s. As a high schooler, he was a standout at George D Chamberlain High School in Florida and would follow in his dad’s footsteps, playing defensive tackle at North Carolina A&T.

In 1999, Holmes’s football career was interrupted when he suffered a head-on collision
in a car crash in Tampa. The crash left him with a ruptured diaphragm and caused him to go into a coma. He needed two emergency surgeries, after which he would suffer a stroke that left his right side partially paralyzed.

Despite his injuries, he worked with physical therapists to regain his movement
and improve his speech, returning to the Aggies.and cleared to play just two years after the incident.

The Grind 

After graduating, he set his sights on a career in sports. However, he landed
a job with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to make ends meet while trying to break into the sports industry. He got his first big break working for the Atlanta Hawks, where he became an intern for the PR department, putting his journalism and mass communications degree
to use. Holmes continued to work at Enterprise at night to help pay the bills.
“I could only work 40 hours a week with the Atlanta Hawks. It was a media relations
training position. Enterprise allowed me to work part-time at the Atlanta airport. And then I’d go to the Atlanta Airport and I would just rent cars ’til probably about 11 o’clock at night,” he told reporters.

While working with the Hawks, Holmes got the opportunity to work in football with
the then St. Louis Rams as a PR intern. Over the next 17 years, he worked his way up through the organization, becoming the Director of College Scouting.

The Motor City

In 2021, he was hired as the General Manager for the Lions and went to work making
some major changes in Detroit. Franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford wanted to be traded to a contender, and Holmes found a buyer in his old team, the Los Angeles Rams. He traded Stafford for draft picks that later turned into running back Jahmyr Gibbs, tight
end Sam LaPorta, and others, simultaneously obtaining a franchise quarterback in Jared Goff. LaPorta and Gibbs have become mainstays in the Detroit offense, with LaPorta leading all tight ends in the NFL with ten touchdowns in his rookie campaign and Gibbs
just edging out his teammate with 11 touchdowns to lead all rookies. These draft picks built on the foundation of young stars like Aiden Hutchinson, Penei Sewell, Amon-Ra St. Brown and a reinvigorated Jared Goff.

With a young core and a revitalized fan base, the team was poised to build on
their 9-8 record from last season. In 2023, the Lions went 12-5, capturing the division title for the first time since 1957. Now, they are just one win away from the Super Bowl.

Brad Holmes’s journey to prominence in the NFL is proof that where we start isn’t
where we have to stay. If Holmes had quit football after his accident or decided not to pursue his dream of working in sports once at Enterprise, who knows where he would end up. The whole city of Detroit could have had to wait even longer for a playoff run.
You don’t know who you will impact by reaching your goals, it could be an entire city. Keep pushing.