The Detroit Lions have generally agreed to a six-year contract with Dan Campbell to become the team’s next head coach, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
ESPN’s Adam Shefter announced on Sunday, after the New Orleans Saints were eliminated from the post-season, that Campbell is expected to be appointed head coach of the Lions.
Campbell, assistant senior coach of the Saints / narrow-minded coach, replaces Matt Patricia, who was fired in November after less than three seasons with the Lions and a record of 13-29-1. The Lions are now trying to restart after finishing last in the NFC North in the last three seasons.
Campbell is expected to bring fellow assistant coach Aaron Glenn with him as a defense coordinator. Glenn has several other suitors, but Detroit is the favorite, a Fowler source said.
Campbell, 44, who has never been an NFL coordinator, is seen as a motivator and someone who can put together a team, not an X-and-O guru. The Lions were looking for people they considered unifiers, as they identified qualities they considered important for building a franchise winner who had one playoff victory in the Super Bowl era and claimed his last division in 1
Campbell doesn’t have much experience as head coach – only 12 games as interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins – but the Lions have clearly seen enough to pair him with newly appointed general manager Brad Holmes. Without trying to convene a game on both sides of the ball, which Campbell leads as coordinators, will be paramount to his success.
During Holmes’ inaugural press conference on Tuesday, the Lions said all three of Holmes, Campbell and vice president of football administration Mike Disner would report to team president Rod Wood, creating a balanced structure. Asked whether Holmes or Campbell would have the final say on the 53-man list, Wood said it would be a collaborative process.
“Each of them will contribute,” Wood said. “As we’ve said, we want a culture where everyone works together, and I think that will work well once we’re in the place of our new head coach.”
The Lions had been searching for Holmes and Campbell at the same time, often asking candidates if they meant people for the other position they would like to work with. After Holmes was hired last week, Lions owner Sheila Ford Hump said Holmes had spoken to some of their other candidates.
Campbell has played 10 seasons in the NFL, including the last three years of his career for the Lions.
ESPN’s Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.