Lions fleshing out coaching staff with three more hires

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
 
| The Detroit News

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Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell continues to quickly flesh out his coaching staff as the team announced three more hires on Friday. 

The Lions have hired Duce Staley to serve as running backs coach and Campbell’s assistant head coach, Mark DeLeone will handle inside linebackers and former quarterback Mark Brunell will coach the position he played for 17 seasons prior to retiring in 2012. 

The Staley hire leaked earlier in the week. The longtime Eagles assistant, who interviewed for the franchise’s head coaching vacancy this offseason, penned a farewell to the city that published on the local NBC Sports website. 

“I am very sad to leave this great organization and city and fans, but I am looking forward to the growth opportunities that lie ahead despite the uncertainties,” Staley wrote. “The way you embraced me, gave me the best nickname I’ve ever heard (Duuuuucccceeee), the way you expect the best from your athletes, the fact you deserve our best given what you’ve invested in us — all of this motivated me to reach heights I never thought possible growing up as a country boy in South Carolina that loved playing football more than I was necessarily good at it.”

During his time coaching the Eagles running backs, Staley worked with LeSean McCoy, LeGarrette Blount, and, most recently, Miles Sanders. A second-round pick in 2019, Sanders has averaged 4.9 yards per carry his first two seasons. 

Prior to coaching, like many of Campbell’s assistants, Staley enjoyed a lengthy playing career. He spent 10 seasons with the Eagles and Steelers, winning a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh. He finished his career with 5,785 rushing yards and 34 total touchdowns.

Speaking of former players, the Lions are giving Brunell his first NFL coaching job. The longtime quarterback played nearly two decades, spending most of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he was selected to three Pro Bowls. He also won a Super Bowl as a backup in New Orleans in 2009. 

In recent years, Brunell been coaching at Episcopal School of Jacksonville, while also serving as a radio host in the area. 

DeLeone comes to the Lions after coaching the same position for the Chicago Bears (2019-20) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2018). 

Those three join defensive backs and passing game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant, who was announced as Detroit’s new defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator earlier this week. 

The Flint native played safety for the University of Wisconsin and got his coaching start at the University of Michigan. He’s spent the past four years with the Los Angeles Rams, coaching cornerbacks. 

In addition to the new hires, the Lions are expected to retain offensive line coach Hank Fraley and tight end coach Ben Johnson, who coached with Campbell for multiple years in Miami and took over the tight end room when the latter was named interim head coach in 2015. 

The Lions still have coaching staff openings for the wide receivers, defensive line and outside linebackers. Robert Prince, the organization’s longtime receiver coach, continues to be listed on the team’s website at that spot, but nothing has been finalized on that front. 

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @justin_rogers

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