MOBILE, Ala. — Duce Staley, whose intense coaching style and straightforward approach with players made him a hit on “Hard Knocks,” is leaving the Detroit Lions to join Frank Reich’s staff with the Carolina Panthers.
Staley spent the past two seasons as the Lions’ assistant head coach/running backs coach, and helped the Lions post two of their best rushing seasons of the post-Barry Sanders era.
The Lions ranked 11th in the NFL in rushing offense this season at 128.8 yards per game, their highest total since 1997, and averaged 110.9 ypg in 2021.
Staley’s departure was first reported by ESPN. He could join the Panthers as offensive coordinator, though Reich is still formulating his staff.
Staley, who also was under consideration to join John Harbaugh’s staff with the Baltimore Ravens, previously worked with Reich with the Philadelphia Eagles, when Reich was the team’s offensive coordinator in 2016-17 and Staley was the team’s running backs coach. The two won a Super Bowl together in the 2017 season.
Staley was a featured in “Hard Knocks” last summer, where he was captured exchanging friendly trash talk with Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn during team drills and pushing running back D’Andre Swift to perform through injuries.
Swift averaged a career-high 5.5 yards per carry this season but carried just 99 times for 542 yards in 14 games as he battled shoulder and ankle injuries most of the season.
“He’s pushing me to my limits,” Swift said of Staley. “He’s pushing me to my limits in every which way. Learning coverages, learning defenses, just detailing my work on and off the field so when I see it in a game I’ve done seen it before in practice. One of the best coaches I’ve been around to play for.”
Staley played 10 seasons with the Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers and ran for 5,785 yards in his career.
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.