Gunther Cunningham won’t be the defensive coordinator in Detroit next season, but he will still be assisting the team.
Cunningham is listed as a senior coaching assistant on the team’s website, which means that he’ll be back with the team for a sixth season to work with his replacement Teryl Austin.
The Lions have not gone into any detail about what Cunningham’s role will entail, but Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports that he will assist in personnel decisions as well as any coaching responsibilities. Per Birkett, Cunningham is “very thorough in draft/free agent analysis and very in tune with the numbers of the game.”
It’s not the first time that Cunningham has returned to a team in a different role after being let go. He was the head coach in Kansas City in 1999 and 2000 before being replaced by Dick Vermeil, but wound up working for Vermeil as defensive coordinator in 2004 and remaining with the Chiefs for four seasons beyond that.