Former Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell is officially back in the NFL. On Tuesday, the Carolina Panthers announced that Caldwell has been hired as their senior assistant under new head coach Frank Reich. According to the announcement from the Panthers, Caldwell will report directly to Reich and work with all three phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams.
Caldwell was actually one of the candidates for the head coach job in Carolina—one of nine reported interviews for the job. And while he obviously didn’t win the job, he must have impressed enough for the Panthers to want to keep him around.
This will be Caldwell’s first foray back into the NFL since becoming the assistant head coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2019. He had to back out of those responsibilities shortly thereafter due to health concerns, and he was not retained in 2020.
Prior to that, Caldwell was the head coach for the Lions and amassed a 36-28 record over four seasons, including two playoff appearances but no playoff wins. As of today, he remains the fourth-best Lions full-time coach in franchise history by winning percentage (.563).
Caldwell has interviewed for multiple head coaching jobs since parting ways with Miami, including with the Bears and Jaguars last season. He also interviewed with the Broncos in this head coaching cycle.
For what it’s worth, the Panthers will travel to Detroit to play the Lions in 2023. So Caldwell will have a bit of a homecoming in the upcoming NFL season.