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Lions coaching rumors: Detroit has 'very strong' interest in Ken Whisenhunt

The Detroit Lions reportedly have "very strong" interest in Ken Whisenhunt for their head coaching job.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

With Bill O'Brien and Lovie Smith off the market, it looks like the Detroit Lions may be turning their attention to San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. He has been mentioned as a potential candidate since the Lions' coaching search started, but only now is he being linked to the Lions as an actual candidate.

Whisenhunt has been with the Chargers as their offensive coordinator since last January. He headed to San Diego after he was fired by the Arizona Cardinals following the 2012 season. The Cardinals went 5-11, 8-8 and 5-11 in his final three years as their head coach, but they went 8-8, 9-7 and 10-6 in his first three seasons (the Kurt Warner years). What's more, Whisenhunt led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in his second season at the helm.

Whisenhunt, who won a Super Bowl title as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator (in Detroit, fittingly), can't talk to the Lions until next week. This is because the Chargers have a playoff game this week, and NFL rules prevent coaches on wild-card teams from being interviewed for other jobs. Those coaches can speak with other teams next week, though, so even if the Chargers win on Sunday, Whisenhunt could interview with the Lions before the divisional round of the playoffs.