With running backs coach Duce Staley leaving for the Carolina Panthers, these 3 Detroit Lions free agents could decide to follow him.
If the Detroit Lions were going to lose an assistant coach this offseason, assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley would have been a little bit down the list. If Ben Johnson had gotten a head coaching job, Staley would have been a candidate to step in as the Lions’ new offensive coordinator.
But this past week news came that Staley was leaving the Lions for a position on the Carolina Panthers coaching staff under new head coach Frank Reich. A reason deeper than football is the driving factor, as Staley’s mom is having health issues in South Carolina. Staley was born in South Carolina, naturally, and starred at the University of South Carolina before being drafted to the NFL as a running back.
What job Staley will have in Carolina is unclear right now. It may be a lateral move to assistant head coach/running backs coach under Reich, or as of this writing the offensive coordinator post is open in Carolina as Reich forms his staff.
Staley was clearly loved and well-respected by Lions players. While a strong segment of Detroit’s free agents don’t want to leave, following Staley to Carolina might be appealing for some.
The Panthers have some work to do, since they currently sit about $8.9 million over the salary cap (according to Over the Cap). But they’ll get it done via cuts, contract restructures or extensions, etc., leaving room to fill needs in free agency.
These three Lions free agents could have following Staley to Carolina on their list of options.