The reshaping of the Detroit Lions coaching staff continues, as former Lions cornerback Dre’ Bly is joining Dan Campbell’s staff as cornerbacks coach.
The Detroit Lions coaching staff is being reshaped, headlined by assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley leaving for the Carolina Panthers. But another notable name is coming on to Dan Campbell’s staff, with Justin Rogers of The Detroit News first to report and the team since confirming the hiring of Dre’ Bly as the Lions new cornerbacks coach.
The hiring of new tight ends coach Steve Heiden was also made official by the Lions Thursday morning.
Bly was a second-round pick by the St. Louis Ram in 1999, and won a Super Bowl as a rookie. He played 11 NFL seasons, including four with the Lions (2003-2006). He made the Pro Bowl twice as a Lion (2003 and 2004), totaling 19 interceptions during his time in Detroit. He spent two seasons with the Denver Broncos (2007 and 2008) and one with the San Francisco 49ers (2009) to wrap up his career.
The Lions fired defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant in the middle of this season after a particuarly bad outing for the secondary against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8. Safeties coach Brian Duker took on a bigger role, and he’ll likely move back to working with the safeties after the hiring of Bly.
Dre’ Bly moving up from college coaching to the NFL
Bly has spent the last four seasons as cornerbacks coach at North Carolina, his alma mater. He was named Rivals’ ACC Recruiter of the Year in 2022. He and the school mutually parted ways in January, and the sentiment from both sides (Tar Heels head coach Mac Brown and Bly) suggests it was not a contentious parting.
Bly first got into coaching as a minority interm with the New Orleans Saints during the 2017 preseason and the Miami Dolphins during the 2018 preseason. In 2018, he was with defensive backs coach for the San Diego Fleet in the short-lived AAF.
Being a good player and a good coach is not guaranteed. But Bly seems to be making the transition well, and pretty quickly, as he moves up to the NFL to help the Lions’ secondary improve.