Lions to Hire Former NFL Player as Linebackers Coach: Report

Tyrone McKenzie

Getty Tyrone McKenzie playing for Minnesota in 2013.

The Detroit Lions have moved quickly to hire a new member of their staff, and are reportedly set to name a former linebacker Tyrone McKenzie as a coach.

McKenzie held the same position with the Tennessee Titans from 2018 to now under Mike Vrabel, and given the similarities in the teams and staffs, it makes sense that the Lions would look in the direction of the 34 year old to lead their defense.

According to Brent Dougherty of 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, McKenzie will be taking his talents northward to Detroit in order to lead the Lions’ group of linebackers.

News of McKenzie’s departure was not met excitedly by folks who are Titans fans, with many disappointed by the news he would not return to the Tennessee staff in 2020 given the growth the team has experienced at linebacker.

Obviously, this would be Detroit’s gain, as the linebacker group has been one of the weak points for the team. McKenzie has worked with aiding in the development of several young players such as Harold Landry, Kamalei Correa, Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown.

Now, he will get to work with the likes of Jarrad Davis and Jahlani Tavai in Detroit.


Tyrone McKenzie Biography

McKenzie started his career as a player for the New England Patriots in 2009-2010 after being a third round pick. While he didn’t stick more than a few years in New England, McKenzie made it to play in both Minnesota and Tampa Bay before finishing his career in 2013 and starting his next step of coaching.

In 2017, McKenzie started that becoming an assistant special teams coach with the Los Angeles Rams. From there, he joined Vrabel’s staff. Additionally, McKenzie has been lauded for some of his solid work with the linebacker group the Titans have on the field.

McKenzie finished his NFL career with 17 tackles and 2 forced fumbles. With the connection to Matt Patricia, it’s not a surprise he will coach for the Lions.


Lions Fired Al Golden

Earlier this month, the team revealed they were parting ways with John Bonamego, Al Golden, Rodney Hill, Harold Nash, Brian Stewart and Chris White. Bonamego coached special teams, Golden was a linebacker coach, Hill and Nash worked together on strength training. Stewart was a defensive backs coach, while White coached tight ends.

Here’s a look at the statement from Matt Patricia, posted to DetroitLions.com:

“Today, our organization parted ways with John Bonamego, Al Golden, Rodney Hill, Harold Nash, Brian Stewart and Chris White. These decisions are never easy and I’m thankful for the effort these men gave our team. I will continue to evaluate our entire operation in the coming days and weeks and will always make decisions in the best interest of the team. I wish these coaches the best in their future endeavors.”

As it relates to Golden, like the defensive line, linebacker has been a spot of much struggle for the Lions. Golden switched from being a tight ends coach to being the linebackers coach when Patricia took over. It was an interesting switch, and the fact that names like Christian Jones and Jarrad Davis have run hot and cold under his leadership seemed to indicate a change should be coming at this spot.

By adding McKenzie, the Lions might have to find someone with more experience at this spot in order to get the best out of these players, and Golden obviously wasn’t the guy.

READ NEXT: Analyst: Lions Must Draft Tua Tagovailoa

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