Dan Campbell discusses possible spring time meeting with Sean Payton

Pride of Detroit

If former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton were to completely walk away from football today, he would go down as one of the game’s greatest coaches. Many believe Payton won’t be done with football for good and that he is merely taking a break after an impressive 16-year run with the New Orleans Saints. One that included a Super Bowl victory in 2009, as well as two other NFC championship appearances.

But for Detroit Lions’ coach Dan Campbell, Payton is more than that.

“Sean was my mentor, man,” Campbell told the Lions’ media during a breakfast at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday morning. “I think the world of him. I learned more under Sean than any other head coach in my time as a player. I was with him for eight of my 11 years as a player under him, and then to coach under him for five years, I got both facets of it, as a player and a coach. And so really everything that I am, or what I’m about, or how I think, really does come from him in a sense.”

Luckily for Campbell, he has plenty of experience to draw from, both as an assistant coach and as a player. There were times during his first year in Detroit where things could have gone off the rails, or become overly negative, especially during that first couple of challenge-filled months. Instead, everyone kept plugging away in the same direction, and the Lions closed the second half of their season on a positive note.

It’s easy to see some of the parallels that exist between Campbell and Payton’s philosophies, both on football, and on people.

“But I think he was always ahead of the game, he was innovative, he knew how to pull the most out of his players, he knows how to put his players in a position to have success — better than anyone I’ve ever been around,” Campbell continued. “He knows how to use the totality of the roster on game day. And man, I think his ability to know, hey, this is what this player needs. This player needs a boot in the rear, or this player needs a hug, or just how to motivate. Those are things you never forget.”

Despite only winning three games in 2021, there were examples all over the roster of Campbell and his coaching staff getting the most out of players.

When Campbell was asked whether he would use Payton as a sounding board, he responded:

“Well, certainly I could (use him as a sounding board). And look, I know that he would help me. He’s told me over and over, it’s like, ‘Hey man, whenever you need anything, just hit me up.’ And certainly, now he has more time to listen. That’s a good thing. But I’ll use him. He said, ‘Hey man, I’ll see you in the spring.’ I don’t know when that will be. I don’t know if he’ll be in shorts or if he’ll have a margarita in his hand. But we’ll certainly see him, and we’ll sit down and talk to him and use him. But I think the world of him, man. He’s another legend in this league.”

Payton is one of the more revered offensive minds in the modern era of the NFL, and while Campbell has already spent plenty of time around the former Saints coach, more time certainly wouldn’t hurt.

And now onto the rest of today’s notes:

  • The Lions coaching staff’s attention to detail is impressive. Check out this response from quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell when asked about why he got so excited after a simple swing pass from Malik Wills (QB, Liberty) on Tuesday:
  • Our own Jeremy Reisman, asked Willis about the same interaction, and he delivered a slightly different response:
  • A Don Muhlbach sighting… and of course he did:
  • The Lions’ “Women in Football” series continued on Wednesday and in this installment, Dannie Rogers interviewed Lindsay Verstegen, the Lions’ Chief People & Diversity Officer
  • Rogers also caught up with the league’s first female scout, Connie Carberg while down at the Senior Bowl:
  • Hey, It’s Jeff Okudah’s Birthday… get ready to feel old
  • And finally, we leave you with this. The Washington Football Team has landed on a new name: The Washington Commanders. If you’re a fan of the change, you may want to avoid the comments.

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