Lions Add Another Talented Former NFL Player to Coaching Staff: Report

Steve Heiden

Getty Steve Heiden coaching the Cardinals in 2014.

The Detroit Lions haven’t yet lost any coaches off their staff, but they have reportedly gained another former player to serve in a big role with the roster.

With the Arizona Cardinals’ staff in a state of flux, Dan Campbell took the opportunity to add a very experienced voice to the roster in the form of Steve Heiden, a former NFL tight end and long time position coach in the league.

Heiden has apparently joined the Lions as the team’s new tight end coach for next season. The news was revealed by ESPN’s Dan Graziano, who broke it with a tweet on Monday, January 30.

“Per sources, Cardinals TEs coach Steve Heiden is expected to join Dan Campbell’s Detroit Lions coaching staff in the same role. Heiden is a former Chargers and Browns TE who’s spent the last 10 years on Arizona’s coaching staff,” Graziano tweeted.

In Arizona, Heiden has mentored the likes of Maxx Williams and Trey McBride the last three seasons. McBride put up a total of 265 yards and one touchdown as a rookie in 2022, and Heiden helped in his development.

He will add even more playing and coaching experience to an already loaded Detroit staff.

Heiden’s Career Biography

In terms of loyalty, Heiden is a guy who has shown that trait off in spades through the years. In his playing career, he only played for two teams in a 10 year career in the league.

Heiden started out with the then San Diego Chargers, where he was a third-round pick out of South Dakota State in 1999. His first two years in the league, Heiden only produced two total touchdowns and 87 yards.

A 2002 trade sent Heiden packing to the Cleveland Browns, where he would spend the next seven years of his career. Heiden would be much more productive there, putting up a total of 1,602 yards and 12 career scores.

Every Steve Heiden Touchdown (With The Browns)Twitter: Patreon: Main Channel: Twitch:

Heiden would get into coaching at the end of his career, and joined Arizona as an assistant special teams and tight end coach, a role he had until 2017. In 2018, he served as the team’s assistant special teams coach. From 2019 until now, he was the tight end coach for the team.

Heiden worked with multiple different coaches and front office regimes during his playing and coaching career, and remained constant. That helps speak to his character.

Lions’ 2023 Coaching Staff Taking Shape

While the Lions have not yet lost a coach, the team also has to prepare for the future. The move to add Heiden to the mix could help in this process for Detroit.

Currently, the team’s tight end coach is Tanner Engstrand, who is also the team’s passing game coordinator. Potentially, Engstrand could be an in-house replacement if offensive coordinator Ben Johnson were to move on in the future, which means that Dan Campbell could have some other projects planned for Engstrand where he doesn’t need to be doing double duty on the staff.

Detroit’s tight end room is very young, with the team having names such as Brock Wright, James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra at their disposal. The Lions could also choose to make another addition in the room this offseason, which means Heiden could help in the development there, as well.

With Heiden on board, that is yet another former player that is added to Detroit’s staff. The Lions have a total of seven former players on their staff, all of whom vary in terms of ability level and accomplishment.

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