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NFL coaching rumors: Detroit Lions interested in Robert Saleh, John Dorsey

The first rumors of the Lions’ job searches have emerged.

Detroit Lions v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp may not have given us many hints as to where the team’s head coach and general manager search is headed, but some rumors have already started to swirl less than a week after dismissing Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn.

Pro Football Network insiders Benjamin Allbright and Tony Pauline broke down the latest head coach and general manager rumors from around the entire league, and both had an interesting nugget or two on the Lions.

“Robert Saleh is one of the hottest names out there right now,” Allbright said. He’s absolutely sought after. Jacksonville was very interested last year, Detroit is interested this year.”

We’ve talked plenty about Saleh this week, and both Allbright and Pauline do a fair amount of simple dot connecting with Saleh to Detroit, noting his connections to Michigan. Much of Saleh’s family still lives there, and he rose up the coaching ranks through Central Michigan and Michigan State University.

Allbright also mentioned one person who could be high on the Lions’ general manager search, former Browns and Chiefs GM John Dorsey.

“I’ve heard John Dorsey is a name to watch out for in the general managership portion up there in Detroit,” Allbright said.

Dorsey is a bit of a polarizing figure. While he drafted well both in Kansas City and Cleveland, his conduct has apparently rubbed people the wrong way. Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon recently penned a column against hiring Dorsey as GM—though he admitted he’d be open to hiring him as a Director of Football Operations.

“I also saw the downside of Dorsey, and it’s a meaty list,” Risdon wrote. “The most prominent issue is his obstinance, and it’s something that ruined a lot of what he hoped to accomplish in Cleveland.”

Another complication to bringing Dorsey to Detroit is the way the Lions appear to be handling the search. Allbright believes the Lions may be looking for a head coach first, then a general manager who could work with him. Meanwhile, Dorsey may be seen as a package deal with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

From Pro Football Network:

Bieniemy has experience working with John Dorsey in Kansas City, who Allbright has heard is high on the Lions’ wishlist, and there are expectations that the two could package themselves together. The Lions are taking a different approach, though. The team is looking to hire a head coach and find a general manager who can work with him, rather than hiring a GM and asking them to lead the head coaching search.

If Saleh is the Lions’ choice, and they’re looking for compatible general manager candidates, Detroit would be wise to look into the 49ers and Seahawks organizations—previous stops in Saleh’s career. San Francisco’s vice president of player personnel Adam Peters is one hot name, and former Seattle senior executive (now Colts assistant general manager) Ed Dodds is another.

Either way, we’re ridiculously early in the Lions’ coaching and GM searches. So treat these rumors with a grain of salt.