According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, current Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell will be the Detroit Lions’ head coach.
“Today, you are going to see the next head coach of the Detroit Lions on the Saints staff” Rapoport said on Sunday morning. “Dan Campbell, the assistant head coach and tight ends coach of the New Orleans Saints, is expected to be the next coach of the Lions—a decision they made late this week.”
Rapoport notes, obviously, that this can’t be official until the Saints are out of the playoffs. He also expects the team to bring him in for a second interview before finalizing the deal, but says the hiring “is expected to happen.”
UPDATE: Adam Schefter has corroborated this story, stating the two need to come to an agreement on terms, but it will happen.
Campbell had been considered a finalist for the past couple days since the Lions hired Brad Holmes as their next general manager on Thursday. There were reports that Detroit may have had other finalists in consideration, but it was never clear if there were any truly close competitors to Campbell.
This won’t be Campbell’s first opportunity as a head coach. Back in 2015, Campbell took over as the Dolphins interim head coach after Miami fired Joe Philbin following a 1-3 start. Campbell, who has been described as a players’ coach, then led Miami to a 5-7 record down the stretch, including an emotional win over the Patriots in the season finale.
Campbell did not win the Dolphins job in 2016, but he did score an assistant head coach job alongside Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints.
Campbell comes with plenty of praise, including endorsements from Bill Parcells, Drew Brees, and, of course, Sean Payton.
“He’s a fantastic leader,” Payton told ESPN back in 2018. “Obviously played a long time in this league. He’s everything you want. Extremely dedicated, hardworking. He’s exactly how he was as a player. And I tried to hire him a number of times and finally had that opportunity. So, we’re fortunate to have him.”