The Detroit Lions have hired former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Duce Staley as their assistant head coach and running backs coach, the team announced Friday.
Staley has previously spent his entire eleven-year coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was Philadelphia’s running backs coach since 2013, and added assistant head coach duties with the Eagles in 2018.
Staley was a candidate for the Eagles head coaching job earlier this month, but the organization hired former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni to replace the ousted Doug Pederson.
It was the fourth time Staley has been passed up for a promotion by the Eagles organization, and as a result, he asked to be released from his contract last week.
Selected in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Eagles, Staley played the first seven years of his career in Philadelphia, where is 4,807 rushing yards are the fifth-most in franchise history.
Staley then went cross-state, and joined the Steelers for the final three season of his career, winning Super Bowl XL in 2005. He rushed for 978 yards and two touchdowns with Pittsburgh.
Staley was not the only staff addition made by the Lions on Friday, as the team also announced the hirings of Mark Brunell as the team’s quarterbacks coach and Mark DeLeone as their new inside linebackers coach.
Brunell, who retired from a 19-year career in 2011, has never coached at the NFL level previously. Most notably finding success with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the late 1990s, Brunell passed for 32,072 career yards and 184 touchdowns, while also rushing for 2,421 yards and 15 scores.
Brunell is tasked with mentoring Detroit’s next quarterback, as veteran Matthew Stafford extremely likely to be moving on.
NFL Insider John Clayton: Steelers Out of Running for J.J. Watt
One of the league’s most prominent insiders believes the Steelers are out of the running for free agent defensive end J.J. Watt.
Joining The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan on Wednesday, NFL insider John Clayton said Watt will not be joining his brothers T.J. and Derek in Pittsburgh.
Clayton sees the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills as the favorites to land Watt’s services.
For a potential dark horse, Clayton says the Las Vegas Raiders as an outside-the-box candidate to sign the veteran pass rusher.
.@JohnClaytonNFL says JJ Watt won't be coming to Pittsburgh. Tennessee, Green Bay, and Buffalo are the 3 teams. Raiders as a dark horse.— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) February 24, 2021
Watt leaves Houston as one of the greatest players in franchise history. He was selected to five Pro Bowls, named First-Team All-Pro on five occasions and earned three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
A future Hall of Famer, Watt is the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles-for-loss (172) and forced fumbles (25).
Watt recorded 52 total tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown in 2020.
NFL Hosting Women’s Careers in Football Forum
The NFL is hosting its fifth annual Women’s Careers in Football Forum from Feb. 24-25, the league announced in a press release Tuesday.
The event will be held virtually and “connect 40 women, 75% of whom are women of color, with leaders in professional football to help those women network and build relationships in the areas of coaching, scouting and football operations.”
Those participating in the event will join panel discussions, breakout sessions and have networking opportunities with industry leaders, such as head coaches and team executives. All portions of the event are aimed at building connections that will result in hirings and subsequent representation.
Since its inception in 2017, the two-day event has assisted in developing “a more diverse talent pipeline by connecting high-potential women to career opportunities in football.” According to the league, 118 opportunities for women in football have been created as a result.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and wife Jane Skinner Goodell will speak, as well as NFL Chief Football Administrative Officer Dawn Aponte. In addition, three owners, seven head coaches and six general managers will also join the conversation.
Sarah Thomas made history earlier this month becoming the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. The champion Tamp Bay Buccaneers also had a record number of women on their coaching staff this past season.
Report: 2021 NFL Salary Cap Expected at $182-183 Million
The 2021 NFL salary cap is expected to be around $182 or $183 million, according to a report by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
That is just slightly above the bare-minimum figure of $180 million agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA last week, and aligns with Steelers Now sources that predict the cap will fall between $180 and $185 million.
The Steelers are one of several teams that will be significantly over the salary cap, regardless of what figure is.
According to Pro Football Talk, those teams have been lobbying to increase the 2021 salary cap at the expense of future years to minimize the impact the pandemic has had on NFL operations.
Doing so would essentially amount to an interest-free loan given by the owners to the players, something that some owners have balked at.
That final figure could still be impacted by the league signing new television contracts for the 2022 season before the salary cap is finalized, which is expected some time in March.
The new league year starts on March 17, which is the day that all teams must be under the new salary cap.