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Dan Campbell admits he’s ‘nervous’ about losing defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn to Saints

Dan Campbell called Glenn’s opportunity in New Orleans ‘real,’ while the Lions defensive coordinator maintains that his current goal is to best serve Detroit.

Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is down with the team in Mobile, Alabama as part of the coaching staff for the American team at the Senior Bowl. However, on Wednesday, he is scheduled to meet with the New Orleans Saints for the head coach position.

Last week, long-time Saints head coach Sean Payton stepped down, and Glenn jumped to the top of potential replacements, seeing as he served as defensive backs coach for five seasons in New Orleans.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell, who was there in New Orleans alongside Glenn for all five of those years, admitted he’s a little anxious about potentially losing his defensive coordinator to the Saints.

“He’d be a great fit, and that’s why I’m nervous,” Campbell told a small group of reporters on Tuesday night. “He’d be a great fit, and, honestly, AG would be a great fit for just about anybody. That’s how much I think of him, and know where he’s going. So I know that’s real, that’s out there. They have a great feel of AG. AG has a great feel of that organization, the players, and all it entails. So if you’re asking me, it’s a fit. I hope it doesn’t go that way, but yeah.”

When Glenn took over the Saints secondary in 2016, it was one of the worst units in the league. But by the time he left for Detroit, it was one of the best secondaries in the NFL, with burgeoning young stars like Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

Despite the overall struggles from the Lions' defense in 2021, Detroit has already started to benefit from Glenn’s talents. Undrafted rookies Jerry Jacobs and AJ Parker played prominent roles last year, and they played above most people’s expectations. And while Glenn will obviously do his best to land a head coaching job, one clear goal still remains: killing it as the Lions’ defensive coordinator.

“I think we all know at some point in my career that’s what I want to do, but I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again, I want to be the best defensive coordinator the Detroit Lions have ever had,” Glenn said on Tuesday. “I look forward to that day when I become a head coach. The interviews are coming around and I’m enjoying those things. They are fun to get a chance to talk some ball and more and less talk about the big picture, which is a cool thing to do.”

That may seem like a tough line to walk. He’s down at the Senior Bowl as a Lions coach first—though he has taken a backseat to defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant as the acting defensive coordinator this week. Still, Glenn said he doesn’t believe he’ll have any issues balancing roles between Lions coach and preparing for his head coaching interview with the Saints.

“I’m never in two different places,” Glenn said. “I know where my job is, believe that. The thing is, if an opportunity presents itself, I can transition into being a head coach at that point. But after that’s over with, I’m the d-coordinator for the Detroit Lions and that will never change.”

That being said, Glenn believes he’s ready to take the next step if someone is willing to give him the job.

“I think I’m ready for it,” Glenn concluded. “I would say this, I was told this a long time ago, coordinator job, head (coach job), you’re never ready for it, but you always go into it. There’s always going to be mistakes, but you learn from those mistakes and just keep on going.”

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