It was quite a shock when we learned that Detroit Lions assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley was leaving the team for the same position with the Carolina Panthers. Staley had been one of the more well-respected members of the Lions coaching staff, and after only two years with the team, there were no indications that his departure was imminent.
We quickly learned, however, that at least part of the reason Staley left was for personal matters. As noted by the Detroit News, the Lions allowed Staley to go to be closer to his mother, “who has been battling some recent health issues.” Staley grew up in South Carolina.
On Thursday, Staley had his introductory press conference and explained a little more about what motivated his lateral move to Carolina.
“It feels good to be back close to home,” Staley said. “Just growing up as a kid being in South Carolina during the time—’95, ‘96 the Panthers got going there. As a kid you always dream about if you’re playing in the NFL, you want to play close to home. So the Panthers were definitely one of those teams that I thought about hopefully drafting me. Didn’t happen, but here I am now.”
Staley also talked more about how being closer to his mom was a big factor.
“She’s my heart, she’s my rock,” Staley said. “So if I had an opportunity to come home, I said to myself for a long time, I would.”
Another factor that lured him to Carolina: reuniting with new Panthers head coach Frank Reich. The two coached together when Reich was the offensive coordinator for the Eagles from 2016-17, and Staley said he’s thrilled to be working alongside him again.
“Being able to spend those years in Philadelphia with Frank Reich and win a Super Bowl, just to see him go out there and affect young men the way he did was awesome,” Staley said. “I said to myself, ‘I would love to have the opportunity to coach with him again.’”
The Lions quickly filled Staley’s position with former Colts running backs coach Scottie Montgomery, who has not yet met with the media.
You can watch Staley’s entire introductory press conference below. Like most Staley press conferences, he’s got a few good quips. It’s definitely going to make you miss him already.