The Detroit Lions have once again gone to an ex-NFL player to help fill out their coaching staff, hiring Antwaan Randle El to coach the team's receivers.
Randle El was an offensive assistant with Tampa Bay 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 also was a returner for part of his career with 26 returns for 288 yards and a touchdown.
Randle El played quarterback in college at Indiana.
After his retirement from the NFL, he became the athletic director at Virginia Academy, a high school he helped start. Then, in 2019, he decided to go into coaching.
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, quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell, assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley, offensive line coach Hank Fraley and defensive assistant Kelvin Sheppard.
Campbell said that was not intentional as he put together his staff.
"I did not go into this thing and say I'm going to hire nothing but ex-players. That really never entered my mind," Campbell said. "In my head, I said, who is the best dude that I know as far as person that I know as an outstanding teacher and coach. That was the criteria. That was, those were always the standards set and I swore I was never going to hire the coach first and the person second. I hired the person first and the coach second.
"So I refused to, here's what I did know, I refused to hire my friends that are average coaches or the guy that I owe but is an average coach but outstanding human being. Because that's how you become average. And so it was a bonus that I knew AG. It was a bonus that I knew A-Lynn because those are outstanding human beings who are outstanding coaches and so, I just went into this thing literally saying, 'Where do I find the best guys? How do I find the best guys? Who are the best guys?'"