Fired Brayden Coombs ‘helped me a lot,’ Lions Pro Bowler Jack Fox says

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

When the Detroit Lions fired Brayden Coombs on Monday, a team source told The Detroit News not only did the former assistant go rogue calling a fake punt, not even all 11 players on the field knew the call. 

Turns out punter Jack Fox was among those who didn’t know the fake was coming. He also explained that wasn’t necessarily unusual. 

“I mean, we work on fakes every week,” Fox said Wednesday. “We have a couple different ones. It kind of depends on like what kind of look we get. We don’t necessarily list the punter. They don’t necessarily need to tell the punter every time we run a fake, so sometimes it’s called on the field, and you get like a green light or whatever, however that goes.

“I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought that maybe that we got the look and we called the fake. Honestly, I thought we got it on the field, so I was excited when I saw it happening.”

Fox didn’t know anything was amiss during the play or even on the sideline after the fake failed. It wasn’t until interim coach Darrell Bevell called him the next day to share Coombs was being let go and why. 

It was also during that call that Bevell informed Fox he would be named a Pro Bowler later that evening. 

“The whole thing I was, I guess I was kind of in shock by the whole thing,” Fox said. “Both aspects of it.”

Despite how things worked out, Fox and Coombs continue to carry a mutual respect. After Fox’s Pro Bowl selection was announced, his former coordinator took to Twitter to congratulate him, while Fox praised Coombs as the best coach and mentor he’s ever had. 

He reiterated those sentiments on Wednesday, while also praising Coombs’ replacement, Marquice Williams.

“Obviously he’s helped me a lot,” Fox said about Coombs. “He was a big part of giving me an opportunity, and I’ll always be thankful for that. Same with coach Patricia and Bob Quinn. I’m really confident in Marquise. When I say like Brayden has been like a mentor and has been the best coach that I could’ve imagined, Marquise is right there with him. They were a really good combination of coaches, and Marquise deserves just as much credit as anybody.

“Marquise is going to do a great job. I think we already have a lot of leadership on our unit, so I think these last two games are going to be really fun and we’re going to be really competitive.”

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