The Detroit Lions’ coaching search continues to see twists and turns, and with a few top contenders off the board, a new name could be coming into focus for the team.
After the Lions missed out on Robert Saleh who was a top candidate in the mind of fans and Arthur Smith who the team looked like they were very interested in, there’s a feeling of panic amongst some. What do the Lions do now? The answer could be turn to New Orleans and Saints’ assistant head coach Dan Campbell.
According to former NFL executive turned analyst Michael Lombardi, Campbell remains a strong candidate for the Lions job according to those in the know.
Fontenot and Smith have been in Atlanta's plans for days, once Smith chose them over any other team, their plan came in place. Hearing Dan Campbell of the Saints is a strong candidate in Detroit as well. https://t.co/rYm5U1TEgX
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) January 15, 2021
Reports out of Dallas this week said that the Lions have a strong presence in their building favoring Campbell. Combine it with this report, and it’s clear there could be some momentum building for Campbell in Detroit. The Lions can’t get another interview with Campbell until New Orleans is eliminated from the playoffs, but if the team doesn’t make a move in the coming days with someone else, it could be with Campbell in mind.
Lions Coaching Search Reset
The Lions have interviewed six candidates so far for the job, and two of the guys on their list have now been hired on elsewhere. Detroit missed out on Robert Saleh and could be poised to miss out on Arthur Smith as well. The Lions could want experience for the role which Campbell would bring, but names like Marvin Lewis and Todd Bowles could also provide them with that given their roles as coaches in the league before. Eric Bieniemy is still available, and the Lions could always request an interview with Los Angeles Rams' defensive coordinator Brandon Staley given his ties with their new general manager Brad Holmes.
At this point, Detroit's search remains wide open. The team's first second interview was slated to be Smith, but with him seemingly out of the picture, anything could happen now.
Dan Campbell’s Career Stats
Campbell, a four-year letter winner at Texas A&M, started his NFL playing career with the New York Giants as a third-round pick in 1999, where the journeyman tight end stayed until 2002. From 2003-2005, he played for the division rival Dallas Cowboys before signing with the Lions in 2006. After three seasons in Detroit, Campbell finished his career in New Orleans in 2009, helping the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV.
Following that, he retired and broke into the coaching ranks the Miami Dolphins as a coaching intern in 2010. The following season, he was promoted to the team’s tight end coach, where he served from 2011-2015, later taking over as the team’s interim coach after the firing of Joe Philbin. He led Miami to a respectable 5-7 record after taking over a bad situation. In 2016, he re-joined New Orleans, where he’s worked under future Hall of Fame head coach Sean Payton ever since.
As a player, Campbell was solid, hauling in 91 passes for 934 yards and 11 touchdowns in his decade-long career, including 330 yards and four touchdowns across 19 games in Detroit. Last with the Lions in 2008, he would know all about the situation he was walking into if he became the team’s head coach.