Sources: Caldwell now Lions’ top candidate


Jim Caldwell has emerged as the leading candidate for the Detroit Lions‘ head-coaching vacancy, according to multiple sources.

One source said the Lions’ discussions with Caldwell had turned to negotiations.

Earlier Monday, while the Lions were waiting on a decision from Ken Whisenhunt — who ultimately took the Tennessee Titans job — they kept open communications with Caldwell and his representatives.

Former Colts coach Tony Dungy spoke with Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. earlier Monday to reaffirm strong attributes he believed Caldwell would bring to the Lions. Caldwell coached under Dungy while with the Bucs and Colts before succeeding him in Indy.

“I already had told [Lions GM] Martin Maywhew that Caldwell is a great match for a team that has the personnel of being capable of playing in the Super Bowl,” Dungy said. “I think the Lions were not only impressed with Jim’s interview but they were pleasantly surprised by the number of former Colts players who called on his behalf. Jim made Peyton Manning an even better quarterback — look at the numbers and wins — and I think he can do the same for Matthew Stafford.

“I know the Lions also want discipline and good character in the locker room. I’m not saying their other candidates can’t achieve those things but those are Jim’s strengths with his background, especially from his influence under Joe Paterno at Penn State and hopefully in our program in the NFL.”

The Lions also have had a former Paterno player, ex-Titans coach Mike Munchak, high on their list. Sources said they were “pleasantly surprised” with Munchak’s plan, presence and leadership. The Browns were in Tennessee interviewing Munchak for their vacancy on Monday.

Whisenhunt was viewed as the leading candidate for the Lions but both sides wondered whether it was an ideal match, including Whisenhunt’s preference to run a 3-4 defense with players who had been drafted primary for a 4-3 scheme.

Former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak also interviewed with the Lions.

  • ESPN Senior NFL Analyst
  • Joined ESPN in 1991
  • Has covered every Super Bowl since 1979
  • ESPN NFL Insider
  • Joined ESPN in 2009
  • Former president of the Pro Football Writers of America and the author of four books

Leave a comment

300-101   400-101   300-320   300-070   300-206   200-310   300-135   300-208   810-403   400-050   640-916   642-997   300-209   400-201   200-355   352-001   642-999   350-080   MB2-712   400-051   C2150-606   1Z0-434   1Z0-146   C2090-919   C9560-655   642-647   100-101   CQE_Exam   CSSLP