The 2017 NFL coaching carousel is nearing its end, and it looks like Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is staying put. Many believed he, or Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, were lined up to get a shot at a promotion this offseason. While Austin did land a few interviews, he was ultimately passed over, leaving the Lions’ coaching staff intact for 2017.
However, one Lions coach was apparently close to getting poached, but the Lions wouldn’t even let teams entertain the thought. According to Albert Breer, the Lions blocked quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan from being interviewed for another job:
A rising future coordinator to watch: Lions QBs coach Brian Callahan. Detroit has blocked him from taking at least one interview this month.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 14, 2017
Callahan joined the Lions staff last year, after winning a Super Bowl as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach with the Denver Broncos. In 2016, he reunited with Cooter, who had worked side-by-side with Callahan in 2013, when both coaches were officially offensive assistants with the Broncos. With the help of Cooter, Callahan raised Matthew Stafford’s game to another level in 2016. Stafford finished with his third-highest passer rating of his career (93.3), his fewest interceptions for a full season (10) and added a new element to his game, rushing for a career-high 207 yards at 5.6 YPC.
The Lions are only allowed to block Callahan from interviewing for a job in two instances. If a team is interested in hiring Callahan to a lateral position, for example, a different quarterbacks coach job, Detroit can simply deny them. The Lions also can deny an interview while the team is in the middle of a playoff run. Obviously, the Lions are no longer in the midst of that playoff run, but that may be what happened if the request came a couple weeks ago.
Now that the Lions are out, however, a team still interested in Callahan as an offensive coordinator could go after him. There aren’t many positions left, but Buffalo, Washington, Jacksonville and likely San Francisco still have openings. Additionally, if a guy like Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan gets the 49ers head coaching job, that would open up another opportunity for Callahan to be poached.
Regardless of whether or not Callahan gets his shot this year, it appears his trajectory is on the way up, and that may mean Detroit losing him sooner rather than later.