The Detroit Lions lost two well-respected coaches this offseason—both to the Carolina Panthers and both for oddly similar reasons. Running backs coach Duce Staley wanted to be closer to his mother, who is going through some health issues. And defensive line coach Todd Wash also had family in the nearby area of Jacksonville.
On Wednesday, Wash met with local Panthers media and took some time to appreciate Lions coach Dan Campbell for allowing him to step away from his job in Detroit to be closer to family.
“What I really appreciate with Dan—and we’ve got the same thing here with Frank (Reich)—is you work for a quality person first. That is Dan,” Wash said. “Obviously, that was one of the reasons I was able to come here, because Dan did allow me to get out of my contract to come home and get closer to my family in Jacksonville. But he’s a quality man first, and I think that’s the No. 1 thing.”
At the NFL Combine earlier this offseason, Campbell explained why it was important to allow Wash and Staley to go, even though they had helped bring back the running game to Detroit and develop some talent along the defensive line.
“Those guys really it was for family and I know that’s the right thing to do, and we’ll miss them,” Campbell said. “But we did feel like this is an opportunity to get better as well, and that’s what you’re going to try to do.
The Lions have found well-respected coaches to replace both Staley and Wash, with Scottie Montgomery now manning the running backs room and John Scott Jr. And while it may hurt to lose two strong coaches in one offseason, as Wash explained, doing right by your co-workers and employees goes a long way in the NFL.
“This is still a people business. I know it’s a business, but it’s a people business, and Dan really treated our players like men, and he expected them to act like men,” Wash said. “I think Frank does the exact same thing, and the players really enjoyed playing for Dan.”