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Lions hire Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell as head coach

Miami Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell looks up during a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 27, 2015.
(Joe Skipper / Associated Press)

The Detroit Lions have agreed to terms with Dan Campbell to be their coach.

The Lions announced the agreement with the New Orleans Saints tight ends coach on Wednesday, one day after formally introducing Brad Holmes as their general manager.

“With more than 20 years of experience as both a coach and player in the National Football League, Dan knows the rigors of professional football and what it takes to be successful,“ team owner Sheila Ford Hamp said in a statement. “He will help promote the culture we want to establish across our organization, while also bringing with him high energy, a respect for the game and an identity with which everyone can align themselves.”

Campbell, who also had the title of assistant head coach with the Saints, has 11 years of experience in the NFL as a coach and 11 as a player. He was 5-7 as interim coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

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Campbell, who is from Clifton, Texas, was a standout tight end at Texas A&M and was drafted in the third round by the New York Giants in 1999. He had 91 career receptions for 934 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Giants, Dallas, Detroit and New Orleans.

Philip Rivers retires after 16 years with the Chargers and one with the Indianapolis Colts. He will fulfill his dream of coaching high school football.

Campbell, who played for the Lions from 2006 to 2008, is the first former player to lead the franchise since Hall of Famer and two-time NFL champion Joe Schmidt was Detroit’s coach from 1967-72.

“Dan’s passion for this opportunity was evident throughout our interview process,“ Lions president Rod Wood said. “When we began the search for a head coach, it was imperative that we find the right leader who values our commitment to building a winning culture based on organizational alignment and collaboration. The leadership Dan has exemplified throughout his football career has prepared him for this next step, and we are excited to support him as our new head coach.”

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Hamp fired general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia in November. Patricia, a former New England defensive coordinator, was 13-29-1 in two-plus seasons as a first-time NFL head coach.

The Lions finished 5-11 last season — their 13th season with double-digit losses this century — and have only one playoff victory since winning the 1957 NFL title.


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