Don't be fooled by his title - Duce Staley will have an even larger role on the Detroit Lions coaching staff, and his new boss believes it could be a stepping stone to the former running back becoming a head coach in the NFL.
After a decade on the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff, Staley left the team he once played for to become the assistant head coach and running backs coach in Detroit under Dan Campbell. While that's the same title he had during his final three seasons on Doug Pederson's staff in Philadelphia, he appears to have secured more sway in Detroit:
Darren Sproles, LeGarrette Blount, Rodney McLeod, Malcolm Jenkins and Brandon Graham were among the former or current Eagles who publicly endorsed Staley to succeed Pederson as the next Eagles coach. Additionally, Howard Eskin of SportsRadio 94 WIP reported that some players had texted owner Jeffrey Lurie to voice support for Staley, who did interview for the position.
Ultimately, though, the Eagles elected to hire former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nike Sirianni as their next head coach. Staley asked to be granted permission to pursue opportunities elsewhere, which he was ultimately allowed to do. Prior to introducing Sirianni, Lurie took time to thank Staley for his contributions to the organization.
"...In particular, just because he's kind of like a son to me, I just want to talk about Duce because Duce is someone very special to me...he's been a a terrific player, coach and leader for us," Lurie said. "He'll always be a Philadelphia Eagle. He and I talked well into the night the other night, and I love the man. I just believe, and I think he believes, that it's best for his goal of being a head coach in the league to work for another organization for a while and set himself up, the way many of the candidates have. It will help him, and I just want the the best for him. I think he'll be an excellent leader for wherever he is in the future, and I just want to share that love for Duce because he's very special."
The Lions have already traded away quarterback Matthew Stafford, and while they did acquire Jared Goff as part of the return package, they are a team in complete rebuild mode, with both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. set to become free agents this offseason. Staley will get to work with Philadelphia product D'Andre Swift, but to get to the point where he becomes a head coaching candidate, it make take the 46-year-old riding out a few lean years first.