Robert Saleh to coach Jets; Darrell Bevell on Lions’ interview: Went ‘really well’

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
 
| Detroit Free Press

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Robert Saleh will be a head coach in the NFL next season, just not for his hometown team.

The New York Jets announced late Thursday night that they have reached agreement with Saleh to be their next head coach.

Saleh, a Dearborn native, is one of six people the Detroit Lions have interviewed for their vacant head coaching job, but was not believed to be a leading candidate for the position.

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The Lions hired Brad Holmes as general manager on Thursday and are in the process of whittling down their list of head coaching candidates.

Along with Saleh, they have interviewed interim head coach Darrell Bevell, ex-Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, New Orleans Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell and offensive coordinators Eric Bieniemy of the Kansas City Chiefs and Arthur Smith of the Tennessee Titans.

Smith reportedly will have a second, in-person interview with the Lions on Friday, and the team is expected to meet virtually with Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

Campbell, one of the leading candidates for the job, cannot meet in person until the Saints are eliminated from the playoffs. They host the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Bevell, who led the Lions to a 1-4 record after replacing Matt Patricia, said on SiriusXM NFL radio Thursday that his interview went “really well.”

“They’re just going through the process and they’re taking their time, is something they said they were going to do,” he said. “It’s a little bit frustrating just the waiting time. It’s over a week that you’ve interviewed and you don’t get a lot of feedback, you don’t get a lot of information as they’re kind of methodically going through this process. So it’s just a waiting game. I felt like the interview went really well. I was excited to have that opportunity. I thought the team played well down the stretch the last five games that I was in there and just hoping for the best.”

Bevell said he was at the Lions’ Allen Park facility for his interview, but that he met with owner Sheila Ford Hamp, president Rod Wood and adviser Chris Spielman by Zoom.

[ Why Darrell Bevell is legitimate candidate to be next Lions head coach ]

“They wanted to keep it the same (as the other candidates),” Bevell said. “You start off by you tell them about yourself and then I really had a PowerPoint program on my thoughts about the program and how I want it to run and what I want it to look like. And I was able to kind of go through that. As you get done like three hours later, there’s conversation in the middle as they ask questions about some of the things that you’re bringing up. But it was a really good process. Thought they did a thorough job with that.”

Saleh, the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator the last four seasons, was one of the top candidates this hiring cycle.

Along with the Lions and Jets, he interviewed for jobs with the Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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