The Detroit Lions once again turned to the former NFL player to help fill the coaching staff, hiring Antwaan Randle El to coach the team’s receivers.
Randle El has been an offensive assistant in Tampa Bay for the past two seasons, helping the team win the Super Bowl over Kansas City earlier this month.
The 41-year-old played nine years in the NFL with Pittsburgh and Washington, appearing in 143 games with 71 starts. He caught 370 passes for 4,467 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was also part of his returnee career with 26 returns to 288 yards and a touchdown.
Randle El played quarterback at Indiana College.
After retiring from the NFL, he became athletic director at Virginia Academy, the high school he helped start. Then, in 2019, he decided to train.
Randle El becomes the latest former NFL player to join the Lions coaching staff, along with head coach Dan Campbell, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, quarterfinal coach Mark Brunell, assistant head coach Duel Lines Hankom Fraley and defense assistant Kelvin Sheppard.
Campbell said it was not intentional as he gathered his staff.
“I didn’t get into this thing and I said I wouldn’t hire anything but former players. It really didn’t occur to me,” Campbell said. “I said in my head, who is the best guy I know as a person I know as an outstanding teacher and coach. Those were the criteria. Those were always the standards set and I swore I would never hire a coach first and another person. First I hired a person and second a coach.
“So I refused, here’s what I knew, I refused to hire my friends who are average coaches or a guy I owe, but he’s an average coach, but an extraordinary human being. Because that’s how you become average. And so was the Bonus I knew AG. It was a bonus that I knew A-Lynn because they are extraordinary human beings and extraordinary coaches, so I just got into this thing literally saying, “Where can I find the best guys? How can I find the best guys? Who are the best guys? ‘”