Gunther Cunningham wants to stay in Detroit, go out a winner

AP

Gunther Cunningham decided stay in Detroit despite being replaced as the Lions’ defensive coordinator in large part because he thinks he can finish his career in Detroit, and go out on top.

Cunningham told the Lions’ website that when former Lions coach Jim Schwartz and most of his staff were fired after the 2013 season, Cunningham was hoping there was a way he could stick around.

“When things ended I wanted to stay here. I came here to do the job and it was going to be my last job one way or another. I want to go out as a winner. It’s really important to me,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham will help the new coaching staff with game planning and also help the personnel department with evaluations, and he said he believes he’s well suited to helping the entire staff, including new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, new head coach Jim Caldwell and new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.

“I talked with T.A. about what he wanted and then when I talked to Jim the second or third time he asked me about the offense,” Cunningham said. “He could see the smile on my face. One thing a defensive coach knows about is offense. That’s what offensive coaches try to dissect and hopefully I can be of help to Joe in that area and Jim himself.”

It’s an unusual arrangement for a coordinator on the staff of a fired coach to stick around with a new title, but having an old pro like Cunningham around can’t hurt for the Lions.