The Detroit Lions had agreed in principle to a six-year contract with Dan Campbell to become the team’s next coach, according to a source told by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
ESPN’s Adam Shifter said Sunday, after the New Orleans Saints were eliminated from the post-season period, Campbell is expected to be appointed as the head coach of the Lions’ team.
Campbell, the principal assistant coach for the Saints / tight endings coach, replaces Matt Patricia, who was sacked in November after less than three seasons with the franchise and scored 13-29-1, as the club tries to re-appoint from last place in NFC North in the past three years.
Campbell is expected to bring fellow Saints assistant coach Aaron Glenn with him as defense coordinator, although Glenn has a few suitors, Detroit is the favorite, the source said.
The 44-year-old Campbell, who has never been a co-ordinator for the NFL, is seen as a motivator and someone who can pull a team together instead of a mentor of X’s and O. The Lions was looking for people they deemed united as they identified qualities they deemed important To build a winner of the franchise he won once in the playoff match in the Super Bowl era and claimed his last title in 1993.
Campbell doesn’t have much experience as head coach – only 12 matches as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphin team – but Lions have clearly seen enough to pair him with newly appointed General Manager Brad Holmes. With no experience calling up playing on either side of the ball, whoever Campbell attends as coordinator will be of the utmost importance to his success.
During Holmes’ inaugural press conference on Tuesday, the Lions said that the Three Holmes, Campbell and Football Vice President Mike Deisner would report to team leader Rod Wood, creating a balanced structure. When asked whether Holmes or Campbell would have the final say in the list of 53 men, Wood said it would be a collaborative process.
“Each of them will have input,” said Wood. “As we talked – we want a culture where everyone works together, and I think that will work fine once we hire our new head coach.”
The Lions conducted their research on Holmes and Campbell simultaneously, and they often asked candidates if they had people on their mind for another position they’d love to work with. After Holmes was appointed last week, Lions owner Sheila Ford Hump said Holmes had spoken to some of the remaining candidates.
Campbell played 10 seasons in the NFL, including the last three years of his career with Lions.
ESPN’s Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.