ALLEN PARK – Exactly one month before all of their starting receivers became free agents, the Detroit Lions announced the official hiring of new coach Antwaan Randle El.
Randle El was a quarterback in Indiana, where he finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy vote in 2001, before playing nine seasons as a wide receiver for the Steelers and the football team. He was a first team All-Pro in 2005, won Super Bowl XL with Pittsburgh and finished with 370 catches for 4,467 yards and 15 total touchdowns.
He replaces Detroit’s longest-serving coach Robert Prince and joins a staff full of former players like head coach Dan Campbell, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, coach- Assistant Head / Running Backs Coach Duce Staley, Linebackers Coach Mark DeLeone and Defensive Assistant Kelvin Sheppard.
Randle El started his coaching career following his former receivers coach Bruce Arians to Tampa Bay in 2019. He served as an offensive assistant for the past two seasons and just won Super Bowl LI with the Buccaneers earlier. this month.
Now he has been hired to lead a task force for the first time, and his task is enormous. Detroit has enjoyed a deep and relatively stable receiving body for years, and had a healthy passing game because of it. But now star wide receiver Kenny Golladay is eligible to become a free agent when the new league begins on March 17, along with fellow starters Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola. The only misfires under contract for 2021 right now are Quintez Cephus, last year’s fifth-round pick, and Geronimo Allison, who opted out of 2020 due to the pandemic.
This poses a serious problem for the Lions, who also trade longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Rams. They get veteran quarterback Jared Goff in return, and this scheme is very hopeful that Goff could jumpstart his career with a change of scenery. But losing so much talent at once would be a tall order for any quarterback, and especially one who has just finished two tough seasons on a new team and a new system.
The big question is with Golladay. He is due to raise his salary significantly in 2021, and new head coach Dan Campbell has said he wants to avoid costly free agents as Detroit embark on a multi-year rebuild. The club could opt to use the franchise tag instead, but it would cost even more against the cap this season. The window to use the franchise tag is February 23 to March 9.
A look at Detroit’s new coaching staff:
The Head Coach: Dan Campbell
Offensive coordinator: Anthony lynn
Offensive line: Hank fraley
Running backs / assistant head coach: Duce Staley
Tight ends: Ben johnson
Receivers: Antwaan Randle El
Assistant receivers: Seth ryan
Quarterback: Mark Brunell
Defensive coordinator: Aaron Glenn
Defensive line: Todd wash
Linebackers: Mark DeLeone
Defensive backs: Aubrey pleasant
Defensive assistant: Kelvin Sheppard, Brian Duker
Special teams coordinator: Dave fipp
Assistant Special Team Coach: Jett modkins
Minority coaching assistantship: DeOntae Pannell