Dan Campbell emerges as favorite for Detroit Lions next head coach: Report

Detroit Free Press

Marlowe Alter
| Detroit Free Press

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Get ready to pull out your old Dan Campbell No. 89 jersey from the bottom of the dirty laundry pile, Detroit Lions fans.

The former Lions tight end, who was on the infamous 0-16 team in 2008, has reportedly emerged Friday as the favorite to be named the Lions’ next head coach.

Campbell is the Saints’ assistant head coach and tight ends coach, and with New Orleans still in the postseason, cannot meet in-person with the Lions until after his season is over, so any final official announcements are on hold. The Saints host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night in an NFC Divisional playoff game. 

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One day after the Lions hired Brad Holmes as their new general manager, Campbell seemingly has climbed to the top of the Lions’ head coach list. They have met virtually with six candidates and were slated to talk with a seventh Friday in Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, but the two sides agreed to cancel. “He wasn’t going to be their next head coach anyway so they punted on it,” Mike Garafolo of NFL Network wrote on Twitter.

Of the six candidates the Lions have met with, four remain on the board: Campbell, Darrell Bevell, Marvin Lewis and Eric Bieniemy. Robert Saleh went to the New York Jets, and Arthur Smith canceled his in-person interview with the Lions and reportedly has an offer from the Atlanta Falcons.

Along with the Lions, the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers, Houston Texans and Falcons have yet to name a head coach. The Jacksonville Jaguars hired Urban Meyer.

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Campbell has prior head coaching experience, serving as Miami Dolphins interim coach in 2015, going 5-7 after replacing the fired Joe Philbin.

He was hired by the Saints after the season and is in his fifth year as coach Sean Payton’s lieutenant. 

Campbell played 19 games with the Lions in 2006-08, including all 16 games in 2006, when he had 21 catches for 308 yards and four touchdowns.

A third-round pick out of Texas A&M by the New York Giants, his NFL career spanned 1999-2008, playing 114 games for the Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Lions.

Here is a sampling of the reports and reaction:

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Follow Marlowe Alter on Twitter: @Marlowe Alter

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