Saints coach Dan Campbell emerging as favorite for Lions job

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Could Dan Campbell really be headed to Detroit?

The Detroit Lions were punched in the gut last night, as San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator and Michigan native Robert Saleh turned the Lions down in order to become the head coach of the New York Jets. With Detroit now forced to scramble for alternative choices after firing Matt Patricia, they appeared to have zeroed in on Dan Campbell, a coach that hasn’t picked up a ton of traction with regards to other vacancies.

Ian Rapoport is reporting that Campbell, who is currently serving as the assistant head coach and tight ends coach for the New Orleans Saints, has emerged as the favorite for the Lions vacancy. This move might take a while to get finalized, as Campbell can’t be interviewed until the Saints’ season ends.

Dan Campbell was once an interim head coach in Miami

Campbell, a former Lions player who made his name as a tough blocking tight end with the Giants and Cowboys before coming to Detroit, served as the tight ends coach with the Miami Dolphins five seasons. He was named interim head coach after the firing of Joe Philbin, and he went 5-7 before being let go in favor of Adam Gase.

Campbell has since resurfaced in New Orleans, where he has played a pivotal role in coaching up one of the most consistently excellent teams in the league over the last half-decade. The Lions seem to think that he has learned enough from Sean Payton to bring success to Detroit in short order.

Given how several big-name players could be hitting free agency and uncertainty is surrounding quarterback Matthew Stafford, Detroit doesn’t seem to have the most attractive opening in the world. Considering how long they must wait to secure him, Detroit must really be confident in Campbell’s leadership abilities.

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