On Friday morning, the Detroit Lions made three coaching hires official. Mark Brunell is the new quarterbacks coach, Duce Staley is the running backs coach and assistant head coach, and Mark DeLeone is the inside linebackers coach.
Although all three of those hires had been previously reported, there are a few interesting notes. First, in the Lions mentioned an interesting fact about Brunell: he has been mentoring quarterbacks at the past five NFL combines as part of the NFL Legends community. With the Lions almost certainly in the market for a rookie quarterback this offseason, Brunell comes with some built-in experience working with young guys—not to mention his 19-year career as an NFL quarterback.
The second interesting development is DeLeone’s title as inside linebackers coach. That suggests another hire is coming for the team’s outside linebackers coach.
Which leads nicely into another coaching development. FootballScoop.com is reporting that the Lions are hiring former NFL linebacker Kelvin Sheppard to their coaching staff. If you’re skeptical of that source, Sheppard himself retweeted the news.
If that names sounds familiar, it’s because he played for the Lions just a couple years back in 2018. In 2020, Sheppard took the director of player development job with LSU.
It may be too early for Sheppard to inherit the Lions outside linebackers coaching job, as he has no experience there and he also was an inside linebacker as a player. But he could take the Lions’ William Clay Ford Minority Coaching Assistantship job—a position created in 2018 to help promote and develop minority coaches. Last year, Ty Warren held that job, but he is no longer listed on the Lions’ website.
Here’s a look at the Lions’ coaching staff as it stands right now:
Head coach: Dan Campbell
Offensive coordinator: Anthony Lynn
QB coach: Mark Brunell
OL coach: Hank Fraley
RB coach/assistant head coach: Duce Staley
TE coach: Ben Johnson
Defensive coordinator: Aaron Glenn
Inside LB coach: Mark DeLeone
Outside LB coach:
DB coach: Aubrey Pleasant
Special teams coordinator: Dave Fipp
One thing to keep in mind, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press is reporting the Lions have talked to former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward and son of Rex Ryan, Seth Ryan, about potential jobs.
That could mean Robert Prince is out as wide receivers coach, but that has yet to be reported anywhere. Ward had a near Hall of Fame career as a player and was most recently the assistant wide receivers coach for the Jets in 2020. Seth Ryan—a former wide receiver himself—was part of Anthony Lynn’s Chargers staff as a quality control coach. Lynn, of course, is now the Lions’ offensive coordinator.