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Tony Dungy wants Jim Caldwell back in Detroit

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy made an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday and suggested the Detroit Lions tap Jim Caldwell for its coaching vacancy. 

Jim Caldwell
The Detroit Lions fired Jim Caldwell on January 1st, 2018 after a 36-28 record in four seasons with Detroit.

Tony Dungy is one of the most respected figures in the history of football. 

When he speaks, people will listen. 

And his appearance on The Rich Eisen Show this past Wednesday was no different. In a nearly 20-minute discussion, he and Eisen discussed several football topics, including the Detroit Lions head coach vacancy. 

Last Saturday, the Lions relieved head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn from their duties after a 41-25 blowout loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving. As of now, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is the Lions interim coach. 

However, if it were up to Dungy, the Lions’ next head coach would be a familiar face. 

After Eisen stated that he received backlash for suggesting that the Lions rehire former head coach Jim Caldwell, Dungy backed his suggestion.

“Trust me, I would do it,” said Dungy. “I would bring Jim Caldwell back and say hopefully we can fix this thing.”

“I’m not sure what the Lions are going to do. You and I, Rich, have watched this for years and years and years. And it seems like every time we make a little progress, it goes back downhill. I want the Lions to be good. That’s my home state, the team I grew up rooting for, and I hope they make a good decision here.”

And Dungy’s commentary didn’t stop there.

When Eisen mentioned the backlash he received focused on Caldwell’s record against teams with winning records and the 9-men on the field fiasco, he asked Dungy if he felt Caldwell got a raw deal in Detroit. 

“Yeah, I definitely think he got a raw deal because there were going in the right direction,” said Dungy. 

“They had a good chemistry there. Just listen to Mrs. [Martha] Ford’s press conference when she let him go. That was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever heard. ‘Hey, our locker room is better, we’ve got great direction, we’ve won more games than we’ve had over any three-year period of time in the last 40 years, our city is better (and) our players believe in him. But, we are going in another direction.’ Come on. That says a lot right there.”

Dungy then mentioned how the Lions decided to go in the direction of a more hard-nosed approach with Matt Patricia as the head coach, and the results were 13-29-1 over nearly three seasons. 

Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell won a Super Bowl together in 2007 when Dungy was the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Caldwell was a part of Dungy’s coaching staff as the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.

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