Jim Caldwell to return to coach the Lions for 2017 season

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Lions silenced questions about Jim Caldwell's future with the team, announcing he has been retained to coach them during the 2017 season.

Caldwell refused to talk much about it other than to say he appreciated the move made by general manager Bob Quinn and team owner Martha Firestone Ford.

''The focus is still about this team,'' Caldwell said Wednesday in an opening statement at his news conference. ''It's about getting our guys ready.''

Caldwell declined to answer any questions related to him, deflecting the conversation toward an NFC wild-card matchup with sixth-seeded Detroit playing third-seeded Seattle on the road Saturday night.

Caldwell helped the Lions earn a spot in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, joining Bobby Ross and Buddy Parker as the only coaches in franchise history to do that during their first three seasons. He led the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in his first of three seasons and was fired after his third year with a 26-22 record after the 2011 season.

Detroit bounced back from a slow star lost its last three games of the regular season, dropping Caldwell's overall record to 27-21 in Detroit. The late-season slide raised more questions about whether he would be back for a fourth season.

Quinn quieted similar queries nearly a year ago, making a relatively surprising move by keeping him instead of having a hand-picked coach to work with him in his first year as a general manager. The duo has stayed in touch daily and Caldwell called their relationship excellent.

''When you think about it, we communicate as much as we communicate because we have to,'' Caldwell said. ''We have to cover a lot of ground, a lot of different subject matters. We work together on a lot of different things.''

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