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Lions coaching search: It's go time

The San Diego Chargers' season is done and the Detroit Lions can now officially make a contract offer to coaching candidate Ken Whisenhunt.

Jeff Gross

For most of the Detroit Lions' coaching search, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has been considered the leading candidate. Even before the Lions fired Jim Schwartz, I had Whisenhunt pegged as one of the top names in their impending coaching search, and reports from the last couple days have only reinforced the idea that he's the Lions' leading candidate.

With the Chargers being eliminated from the NFL playoffs by the Denver Broncos on Sunday, we're about to find out if all of this speculation was accurate. Whisenhunt is now officially available to be hired for a head coaching job, meaning the Lions can begin contract negotiations with him and make an offer. They can also schedule a second interview with Whisenhunt if they want to take that step first before entering into negotiations.

Essentially, the next couple days will tell us a lot about the Lions' plans for their coaching search. The expectation is for things to progress pretty quickly with Whisenhunt now available. If things don't move forward on the Whisenhunt front in the next 24-48 hours, then that could be an indication that he's not actually their top candidate. If he is their guy, though, then it's possible the Lions could hire Whisenhunt as their head coach within the next few days.

Basically, it's go time for the Lions' coaching search. Their perceived top candidate is now available, and if they truly want to hire Whisenhunt, it's time to get this search wrapped up. And even if Whisenhunt shockingly isn't their top choice, the time has come to advance this search forward and make a move.

The next few days should be pretty interesting for the future of the Lions.

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