Sean Payton’s abrupt retirement as New Orleans Saints head coach could lead to big things for one of his former assistants.
The Saints reportedly submitted a batch of interview requests for their head coaching vacancy Thursday, including one for Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.
Glenn spent five seasons as Payton’s secondary coach before joining another ex-New Orleans assistant, Dan Campbell, in Detroit this season.
As Lions defensive coordinator, Glenn oversaw a unit that finished 29th in the NFL in total defense and 31st in points allowed, but was widely considered to have overachieved.
The Lions held seven opponents to 20 or fewer points this season and tied for 21st in the league with 19 takeaways despite an injury-depleted and talent-deficient roster.
They lost starting cornerback Jeff Okudah and 2020 sack leader Romeo Okwara to Achilles tendon injuries in the season’s first month, placed defensive starters Amani Oruwariye, Jerry Jacobs and Alex Anzalone on injured reserve in December and finished the season with three rookies — Ifeatu Melifonwu, A.J. Parker and Derrick Barnes — in the starting lineup.
Glenn interviewed for the Denver Broncos head coaching job at The Henry hotel in Dearborn earlier this month, though the Broncos filled that vacancy by hiring Nathaniel Hackett on Thursday.
If Glenn lands the Saints job, he will be the first Lions assistant to go directly into an NFL head coaching job with another team since Chuck Knox was hired to coach the Los Angeles Rams in 1973.
Dick Jauron finished the 2005 season as interim head coach when Steve Mariucci was fired before joining the Buffalo Bills as head coach in 2006.
Other candidates for the Saints job including current New Orleans defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.