Lions news: Team interested in Robert Saleh for head coach in 2021

By Matt Johnson
Dec 8, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh before their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Lions news: Just a week after the Detroit Lions fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, one candidate is already emerging to become their head coach in 2021.

Detroit cleaned house amid another disappointing season, launching a search under new ownership. With the team reportedly focused on first hiring a head coach to replace Patricia, one name is emerging that football fans in Michigan will love.

Lions news: Robert Saleh already receiving interest from Detroit Lions

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator was one of the most coveted head coach candidates this past offseason. He interviewed with the Cleveland Browns and turned down the Michigan State Spartans, much to the delight of Kyle Shanahan.

Once the Lions fired Patricia, many started connecting the dots to Saleh. While Detroit’s most recent experience with a defensive-minded head coach backfired, Saleh is a Michigan native and boasts an impressive track record.

Fans aren’t the only ones in Michigan hoping Saleh becomes the team’s next head coach. A group of state legislators wrote a letter to team owner Sheila Ford encouraging her to hire Saleh.

According to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline and Benjamin Allbright, the Lions are interested in hiring Saleh as their next coach. Many around the league also believe the 41-year-old defensive coordinator is a natural fit for the team.

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Under Saleh, San Francisco’s defense hasn’t been as dominant as we saw in 2019. However, it’s worth noting this unit has played much of the season without Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman and Solomon Thomas. Despite the injuries, the 49ers allow the 10th-fewest points (23.1) and sixth-fewest total yards (315.2) per game this year.

Related: NFL defense rankings – Examining top defenses for NFC and AFC Championship Games.

Not only is Saleh one of the league’s smartest defensive minds, but he is also adored by players. Sherman has raved about his defensive coordinator’s leadership.

For now, Saleh is focused on helping the 49ers turn their season around. Once his year is over and teams begin interviewing candidates, don’t be surprised if Saleh comes home to Michigan.