After interviewing for a couple head coaching jobs, again, former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has been hired by the Carolina Panthers.
Former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell got some looks for head coaching jobs again this year, including being one of the first to interview with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers of course ultimately hired former Colts head coach Frank Reich.
But on Tuesday morning, the Panthers announced they’ve hired Caldwell as a senior assistant. While Caldwell’s non-head coaching experience is on the offensive side of the ball, he will report directly to Reich and help out in all three phases.
Caldwell is the second, or actually third, coach with Lions’ ties Reich has brought in. Duce Staley was assistant head coach and running backs coach in Detroit the last two seasons, before a family situation brought his move Carolina. Dom Capers was a senior defensive assistant for the Lions in 2021, and he’s taking the same role back in Carolina (Capers was the first head coach in Panthers’ history, from 1995-1998).
Former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell is back in the NFL
Caldwell last coached in the NFL in 2019, when he was assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins. A health situation led to him not finishing that season in that job. It’s felt like only a matter of time before he was back in the league in some capacity.
It’s sort of interesting that Caldwell turned down an opportunity to interview for the Washington Commanders offensive coordinator opening, in supposed deference to only pursuing head coaching jobs. There’s something to be said for fit and comfort though, and ultimately Caldwell chose being a senior assistant in Carolina under Reich as his step back into coaching.
Caldwell was on the Colts staff when Reich started out as a coaching intern there in 2006. When Caldwell replaced Tony Dungy as the Colts’ head coach, Reich became the quarterbacks coach.
Whether Caldwell will ever be a head coach again remains a question. But he’s back on a staff in the league, and that’s an important step.