Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions

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Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson was briefly a head-coaching candidate for the Colts, Texans and Panthers this offseason, but he announced before those jobs were filled that he was pulling his name from contention and remaining in Detroit.

The 36-year-old Johnson told Colton Pouncy of he’s going to continue to develop as a coach and look for the right fit before he jumps to a head-coaching job, even though he knows it’s possible he might not get any more opportunities.

“There is no doubt that these opportunities aren’t guaranteed,” Johnson said. “They don’t come along very often. There are only 32 of the jobs, and I was honored that I had three requests come out. Did some due diligence on it. . . I can just speak on a personal level. Some people, they really want to climb as fast as they can. I know particularly young coaches want to do that. That’s not been the case for me, per se.”

Johnson believes the Lions have a chance to be contenders this season, which is part of why he didn’t want to leave.

“I want to win football games,” he said. “I want to be around good people. And when I finally had a chance to step back and take a deep breath and look at it, that was the most important thing. I love Dan Campbell, I’ve known him for a long time, I believe in the direction of this organization. So that truly was the biggest drawing point for me to come back. . . .

What we have here, what we’re building here, is something I want to be a part of. I’ve been a part of a number of losing seasons in my 11 years in the NFL. To feel us to get so close to making the playoffs this year and knowing the players we have, knowing what Brad’s been able to do in his short time here in acquiring this talent, this personnel, it really makes me feel like, man, we just gotta kick that door down. Get our foot into the dance, and all bets are off when that happens.”

There’s more optimism around the Lions right now than there has been in many years, and Johnson is glad to be in the middle of it.

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