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Report: Lions didn’t formally offer Matt Campbell a contract

Lions got the Campbell they wanted all along.

Big 12 Championship - Iowa State v Oklahoma Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Less than 48 hours after the rumor that the Detroit Lions offered Iowa State coach Matt Campbell an eight-year, $68.5 million contract, Dave Birkett of the Free Press is now reporting that no formal offer was actually ever made.

“A Lions source with knowledge of the team’s search process said Friday no formal offer was made to Campbell, and that the Lions got the No. 1 candidate on their list: Former New Orleans Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell,” Birkett said.

The Lions did have a legitimate interest in Matt Campbell, and as Birkett points out, they were one of two teams to reportedly hold interviews with Campbell during the 2021 hiring process—the New York Jets were also rumored to have brought him in.

But, Birkett’s source confirmed that “the Lions’ conversations with (Matt) Campbell did not go beyond their first interview.”

There were enough questions surrounding Dennis Dodd’s (national college football writer for CBS Sports) original report, that it prompted me to question its validity during Thursday morning’s Open Thread. From the manner in which it was delivered (casually during a podcast focused on ranking college coaches), to CBS Sports not breaking the story first, to the source of the information lacking NFL ties, specifically to the Lions, that something felt out of place.

Our readers apparently felt the same, as the poll at the end of the article asked “Are you buying or selling the report that the Lions offered Matt Campbell an 8-year contract?” and the results were an overwhelming 86 percent vote to “sell” the report.

Birkett’s report is as close to a comment from the Lions organization as we are going to get on this matter and his track record as a reporter should put this rumor to bed.