Detroit Lions coaches as players: Offensive line coach Hank Fraley

SideLion Report

To start a series looking at the playing careers of some notable members of the Detroit Lions coaching staff, offensive line coach Hank Fraley is first up.

Upon being hired as Detroit Lions head coach in 2021, Dan Campbell assembled a coaching staff filled with former NFL players–like he is. The perspective of former players at the highest level surely carries some value to current players, but said former player has to gain credibility for his acumen as a coach too.

Hank Fraley is entering his third season as the Lions’ offensive line coach. His unit is regarded among the best in the league, even after the projected starting five did not play a single snap together last season.

Fraley started his coaching career in 2012 as the offensive line coach at the University of San Diego in 2012. He moved on to San Jose State in the same role in 2013, before jumping to the NFL as assistant offensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings.

After three seasons in Minnesota, Fraley went back to the college level at UCLA in 2017. His tenure with the Lions started in 2018 as assistant offensive line coach, and he was elevated to offensive line coach in 2020.

But Fraley is a somewhat recognizable name because his playing career.

The playing career of a Detroit Lions’ coach: Hank Fraley

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Fraley as an undrafted free agent out of Robert Morris in 2000, then they waived him before the season started. The Philadelphia Eagles picked him up, but he did not play at all as a rookie.

Fraley became Philadelphia’s starting center in 2001, starting 15 games while playing in all 16. He started all 16 games in each of the next three seasons for the Eagles (2002-2004).

After a shoulder injury cost him half of the 2005 season, Fraley lost his starting job and was traded to the Cleveland Browns just before the 2006 season started. He started all 16 games for the Browns in each of the next three seasons. He played 15 games and started four in 2009, his final season with the Browns. He was released in March of 2010.

Fraley’s appeared in seven games for the St. Louis Rams in 2010, in what wound up being his final season.

All told, over 10 seasons of action (11 total seasons if you count his totally inactive rookie season), Fraley appeared in 142 NFL games with 123 regular season starts. He started 10 playoff games, all with the Eagles, including four straight NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl. For his career, according to Pro Football Reference, he committed just 23 accepted penalties in the regular season.

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