- Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
- Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The Detroit Lions have hired Mark Brunell as quarterbacks coach, the first NFL coaching job for the 19-year veteran who last played in the league in 2011.
Brunell is expected to tutor the Lions’ first new full-time starting quarterback in over a decade, as Detroit is seeking to trade Matthew Stafford, the team’s signal-caller since 2009, after he and the franchise mutually agreed to a split earlier this month.
Brunell has the playing experience, at least, to potentially do it. He played most of his career in Jacksonville, starting 117 games over nine seasons beginning in 1995. He came into the league in 1993 as a fifth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers.
It was in Jacksonville in 2003 and then with the New York Jets in 2010 and 2011 where he intersected with Detroit’s new offensive coordinator, Anthony Lynn, who was the running backs coach at the time. In 2009, Brunell played for the New Orleans Saints during new Lions coach Dan Campbell’s final year in the NFL. Brunell also played in Washington for three seasons.
Brunell played in 193 career games (151 starts), completing 59.5% of his passes for 32,072 yards, 184 touchdowns and 108 interceptions. After retiring, Brunell was the head coach at Episcopal School in Jacksonville, Florida, a mentor for quarterbacks entering the NFL draft and a radio host on WJXT in Jacksonville.
Detroit also announced the hiring of Duce Staley as assistant head coach/running backs coach — the same title he has had in Philadelphia since the 2018 season. Staley spent 10 seasons as a coach with the Eagles, working his way up from special-teams quality control coach, after retiring from his 10-year NFL playing career.
Staley interviewed for the Eagles’ head-coaching job after Doug Pederson was fired earlier this month.
Brunell and Staley are the latest Lions coaches to have played in the NFL. Campbell played 10 years in the league, Lynn seven, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn 15 and offensive line coach Hank Fraley 11.
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