After losing out on Ken Whisenhunt to the Tennessee Titans, the Detroit Lions are now focused on bringing in Jim Caldwell as their next head coach, ESPN.com's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen are reporting.
Caldwell, the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator and former Indianapolis Colts head coach, has been in talks with the Lions. Detroit vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. also spoke on Monday with Tony Dungy, the former Colts coach who was a mentor to his eventual successor Caldwell.
“I know the Lions also want discipline and good character in the locker room,” Dungy told ESPN.com. “I’m not saying their other candidates can’t achieve those things but those are Jim’s strengths with his background, especially from his influence under Joe Paterno at Penn State and hopefully in our program in the NFL.”
According to the report, the Lions were prepared to their team plane to San Diego for a meeting with Whisenhunt, who this past season was the Chargers' offensive coordinator. The Chargers were ousted from the playoffs on Sunday with a 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. Whisenhunt, however, asked the Lions to hold their plans until he completed his season-ending tasks with the Chargers, and he eventually moved closer to a deal with the Titans. Caldwell won a Super Bowl as an assistant with the Colts and reached another one as a head coach. With the Ravens, he was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in December 2012. With Caldwell's help, the Ravens rallied to a Super Bowl XLVII win.