The Detroit Lions and Dan Campbell have agreed to a six-year deal that will make him the next coach of the franchise, as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, then confirmed by several other sources. Campbell returns to Detroit, having spent three years there as a player from 2006 to 2008.
This won’t be Campbell’s first time as a head coach, as he was promoted from tight ends coach to interim head coach during his time with the Miami Dolphins. Taking over a 1-3 squad from Joe Philbin, Campbell led Miami to a 5-7 record down the stretch, and made a solid case for keeping the job the following year.
Ultimately, the Dolphins decided to go in a different direction, so Campbell’s coaching career evolved in New Orleans. With the Saints, he was immediately named assistant head coach under Sean Payton as well as the team’s tight end coach.
While Campbell isn’t known as a top-tier strategist in the league, he has been widely praised as a fantastic leaders and motivator. His 11 years of playing experience undoubtedly plays into that, as well as his energetic demeanor.
The Lions could have officially hired Campbell as soon as the Saints lost to the Buccaneers in the divisional round of the playoffs on Sunday. However, it was reported that Campbell wanted to complete exit interviews with Saints players before heading to Detroit.
Campbell becomes the 29th head coach in Detroit Lions history, succeeding three seasons of Matt Patricia and the short interim stint of Darrell Bevell. The Lions have not confirmed the hiring, but an official announcement is expected soon.
Next up in the process is creating a staff around Campbell. While there have been reports of Aaron Glenn being the team’s next defensive coordinator, those have yet to be confirmed, and it appears Glenn is still considering his options.
For now, let’s welcome Dan Campbell to the Detroit Lions with the new anthem here:
UPDATE: The Detroit Lions have made it official: