Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders never had much to say during his playing career. On Wednesday, he was talking a Honolulu Blue streak, Jack, on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Sanders said that he’s involved in the search process, and that new Lions front-office employee Chris Spielman is “kind of heading the search.”
Sanders made it clear that Spielman is casting a wide net as he searches for the team’s next coach.
“From what I understand, there’s definitely some college coaches involved in our process of who Chris is actually looking at,” Sanders said. “You know, so he’s taking a good look at both. And so to answer your question, there’s some great college coaches out there that could step in and do the job, and obviously there’s some offensive and defensive coordinators in the league as well that are being looked at, so that’s kind of how we’re looking at it.”
Sanders advocates not ruling out a college coach, given the current similarities between the two levels of the sport.
Known candidates include Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, interim head coach Darell Bevell, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, and Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell. If college coaches are talking to the Lions, their names haven’t emerged yet.
The Lions are also looking for a General Manager. Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes has had a second interview for the job.
The new coach and G.M. necessarily will have to navigate a front office that includes Spielman and team president Rod Wood, a dynamic that necessarily dilutes the pipeline to ownership — and that forces the coach and the G.M. to consider extraneous factors related to the interactions, agendas, and influences of Spielman and/or Wood on Sheila Ford Hamp.