Report: Linehan as OC
ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that the Lions have agreed to terms with former Rams coach Scott Linehan as their new offensive coordinator. Linehan has not returned my calls in recent days and the voicemail on his cell phone is currently full, but it's believed he emerged as the leading candidate once it became apparent Brian Schottenheimer would stay with the Jets.
Linehan, a good friend of former Michigan State coach John L. Smith, was fired four games into last season, his third with the Rams. He was offered the offensive-coordinator position with the 49ers last week, but turned down the job because it would take him too far from his family in St. Louis.
The question now is whether the Lions will keep quarterback Daunte Culpepper on their roster. Culpepper, who had his best seasons in Minnesota when Linehan was his offensive coordinator, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. He is due a $2.5-million roster bonus in February and a $2.5-million salary next year. The Lions could decline the bonus and make him a free agent.
Though he did little of note in five starts last year, it's my belief that the Lions will bring Culpepper back for another season. I don't see them turning the franchise over to a rookie quarterback in Week 1, I don't see Jon Kitna or Dan Orlovsky having much of a future in Detroit, and I was told last year new general manager Martin Mayhew signed Culpepper with the intention of letting him run the team in 2009. That may have changed with Culpepper's struggles on the field he was thrust into a starting position five days after he signed but with Linehan in the fold there's a chance the Lions have convinced themselves better days for Culpepper are ahead.