Lomas Brown knows his relationship with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter won’t be as friendly because he is prepared to criticize the offense, if need be, as the new color man on WJR’s Lions broadcast.
“I know it’s going to be tricky with Matthew Stafford,” Brown said Tuesday night. “I am not sold on the offense. I hope its a case where Jim Caldwell had the handcuffs on Cooter and it will be different this season. I am not impressed with the offense.”
Brown admits that he is in a tough spot replacing Jim Brandstatter as the color commentator for Lions broadcast, a man he considers a good friend. But he thought the wheels were in motion for change last season when he did weekly Lions segments on the station.
“I think they were auditioning me to see if I could do it,” Brown said.
Still Brown was as shocked as anybody when told he was replacing Brandstatter, who was fired on earlier this week. He thought WJR was going to a three-man booth with Miller, Brandstatter and Brown. About 2-3 weeks ago the conversations with WJR changed and Brown believed he might replace Brandstatter.
Brown said the move was made by WJR because the station wanted someone affiliated with the Lions in the booth. Brandstatter is viewed as a Michigan man because he played for the Wolverines and is the play by play man for their broadcast. Dan Miller is viewed as a Fox 2 man because he is their sports anchor. Brown played left tackle for the Lions for 11 seasons and lasted 18 seasons total in the NFL. He also played for the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants. He won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Bucs before retiring.
He wanted to return to the Lions as an offensive line coach. Brown was even fitted with a coaches shirt by the team but the club did not hire him. Instead Brown mentored young linemen for the New York Giants.
Brown promises not to parrot the company line in the broadcast booth.
“I am going to try to tell people what I am seeing and with my 18 years of NFL experience” Brown said. “I think my 18 years of playing will give me credibility with the (players) when I am criticizing them. I hope they view it as constructive criticism rather than just ripping them. If I don’t tell the truth the fans will see right through that. My relationship might not be the same with the team or with some of the players but I have to call it like I see it.”
Brown will give up his duties on WDIV’s Sunday Sports Final Edition sports show with Jamie Edmonds in a dispute over money. Brown said the new job comes with mixed emotions because of his strong relationship with Brandstatter.
“That’s my man,” Brown said. “When they first told me about getting the job I was more in shock. I consider Jim to be a great broadcaster. And Jim and his wife Robbie Timmons are dear friends. Those are some huge shoes to fill. I thought he did a very good job. I am putting a lot of pressure to not be at his standard but to keep the standard going.”