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Dan Campbell feared losing Aaron Glenn would be like walking ‘without wearing pants’

Lions head coach Dan Campbell spoke about the importance of retaining defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn... in a way that only Dan Campbell would.

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

When Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn finished his second interview for a head coaching job—this one for his former employer, the New Orleans Saints—Lions head coach Dan Campbell was certain that was it. Glenn would be gone in Detroit after just one season.

“I really did (think he was gone),” Campbell said on Thursday. “Look, I have a tremendous amount of trust and confidence in AG. I just do. He is more than worthy of being a head coach, he’s more than qualified of being a head coach in this league.”

The Lions were in Mobile, Alabama the week Glenn interviewed with the Saints, and as Campbell wandered the city, a sense of dread came over him at the thought of losing Glenn.

“But the thought of losing him, I just had this feeling of like, I was going to be walking around without any pants on,” Campbell admitted. “So, I would say not having AG—there is a comfort level. I think that pretty much says it all.”

The Saints ended up promoting defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to the head coach position, leaving Glenn in Detroit. But via Glenn’s side of the story, there was a heated debate in New Orleans on which direction they should go.

“(Saints GM) Mickey (Loomis) said he was going to call me sometime in the morning,” Glenn recalled. “I didn’t get a call, and then as the day went on he called me and said, ‘Man, we’re still thinking about it.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, gosh.’ And then like six o’clock came and he called me, and he didn’t say anything for like 10 minutes into the conversation. I’m just like, ‘Mickey, just tell me man.’ He finally told me.”

Campbell admitted that while he would’ve been happy for Glenn had he got the job, he was ultimately relieved that his defensive coordinator would stay in Detroit for another year.

“I’m happy to have him and we’re lucky to have him,” Campbell said. “We’re fortunate to have him as our defensive coordinator. But yeah, I’m glad he’s back.”

And if Glenn was disappointed in any way for missing out on the job, he sure didn’t show it. Because for the third time this offseason, he reiterated his goal of becoming the best defensive coordinator in Detroit Lions history.

“I think I have the best job in the world. I really do,” Glenn said. “Man, I think I’m working for an outstanding head coach. I’m working for an outstanding owner. Outstanding president. Really good people in the building to work with. My main deal right now, I want to be the best coordinator Detroit has ever had. I’m going to stand by that and continue to say it because I really believe that in my heart. If the head coaching deal happens. It happens. But for right now? I think I have an outstanding job. I really do.”

Campbell isn’t the only one happy to see Glenn’s return to Detroit. Players have praised Glenn’s influence on them in just one season. We’ve seen young, undrafted players perform well above expectations, with more seasoned players like Amani Oruwariye and Tracy Walker enjoying career years under him.

“Everyone here loves playing for AG,” Lions defensive back Will Harris said on Thursday. “To be able to have somebody with that bank of wisdom that he has and that football knowledge having played for such a long time and having coached for a long time, having him here is a tremendous tool for us.”

Campbell is happy. The players are happy. Glenn is happy, although he wants to make one thing clear: keep the pants on.

“We want to make sure (Campbell) keeps his pants on,” Glenn said. “But that’s good to hear, though. That’s really good to hear. Not the pants part. But that he’s excited for me to back.”