Dave Birkett | Detroit Free Press
Antwaan Randle El is trading in a chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the opportunity to have his own position group with the Detroit Lions.
The Lions finalized their coaching staff Wednesday by announcing Randle El, an offensive assistant with the Bucs the past two seasons, as wide receivers coach.
Randle El was a dynamic college quarterback at Indiana and multipurpose weapon in the NFL. He caught 370 passes for nearly 4,500 yards in nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington, scored six touchdowns as a return man and threw six touchdown passes.
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Second-year Bucs receiver Scotty Miller said Randle El was instrumental in Tampa’s just-completed Super Bowl run, and receiver/return man Jaydon Mickens called him “a great inspiration and leader.”
“Coach El is a great coach, but even a better person,” Miller said. “Really just brings so much energy. Christian guy. Just brings so much to our room that we all appreciate. And as far as on the field, he’s done it.”
Randle El, entering his third season as an NFL coach, will work with what could be a young group of receivers with the Lions.
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Top receivers Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola will be unrestricted free agents next month. Jones is expected to sign elsewhere with a contender, Amendola could retire and Golladay’s return is uncertain as he promises to be one of the top free agents on the market.
The Lions may have to use the franchise tag at the cost of about $15.5 million to keep Golladay in Detroit. The franchise tag window runs Feb. 23-March 9.
Quintez Cephus, a fifth-round pick last spring out of Wisconsin, is the only Lions receiver currently under contract for 2021 who caught a pass last season.
The Lions have been a popular landing spot for top receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle in mock drafts.
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.