According to a report from ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the Detroit Lions are hiring Cardinals tight ends coach Steve Heiden to be part of the coaching staff. Per Graziano, Heiden is set to become the Lions tight end coach.
Of course, that’s a very interesting development, because the Lions already have a tight ends coach in Tanner Engstrand, who was promoted to the position last year after the previous tight ends coach Ben Johnson got the offensive coordinator job. It’s unclear if Engstrand, who also carried the title “passing game coordinator,” is getting a promotion or is leaving the team.
As for Heiden, he is another former NFL player turned coach. A third-round pick in 1999, Heiden played tight end for 11 seasons at the NFL level, three with the Chargers and eight with the Browns. Over that time, Heiden caught 201 passes for 1,689 yards and 14 touchdowns.
His coaching career has been solely with the Arizona Cardinals, joining the team in 2013 to reunite with Bruce Arians, who was his offensive coordinator with the Browns for two years. He initially started as an assistant special teams and tight ends coach for the first five years of his coaching career before getting promoted to offensive line assistant coach and eventually landing as the tight ends coach in 2019.
Heiden brings 10 years of experience coaching, and his varied roles with the Cardinals—spanning three different head coaches—should provide the Lions with a valuable voice amongst the coaching staff.