Robert Saleh responds to Lions interest

Once the initial surprise wore off when news broke that the Detroit Lions decided to part ways with maligned head coach Matt Patricia, speculation immediately began to abound as to who his ultimate replacement would be.

Naturally, one of the first names that came to mind of both fans and media alike is San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

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A Dearborn, Mich. native, Saleh grew up a Lions fan and played college ball in the state. He later attended Northern Michigan and coached at Michigan State, Central Michigan and Georgia.

Additionally, a bipartisan group of 36 Michigan House legislators released an open letter to the Detroit Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp requesting she consider Saleh to officially succeed Patricia.

However, Saleh remains focused on his current job. He considers it “flattering” that his name is appearing in rumors for the job, but he’s keeping his energy with the 49ers for right now:

“You know, it’s flattering and all, but I would still imagine that the Lions are going to go through their due diligence and go through their process and still try to find a way to hire the best man for that job,” Saleh said in an interview for the Adam Schefter Podcast. “But it still comes back to the fact that we have five weeks left in the season too. Like I said, while it’s flattering, my mind is solely focused on Monday night and just getting our guys ready to play a game and see if we can make a playoff push.”

“With every week, we get a little bit healthier and healthier. The longer we linger, the better chance we have to make the playoffs. And if we get in the playoffs with a fully loaded roster, I think the NFC will be in trouble.”

Naturally, he has friends and family who are Lions fans who are reminding him about the possibility that’s looming during the offseason.

“I know it’s not the answer you want, I just haven’t had time to digest that,” Saleh explained. “I know my family is uber excited. I know friends from high school, they blow my phone up every day and they’re super excited. But I’m not lying to anybody when I can genuinely can say that it would be irresponsible for me to really think about it when there’s an organization who is counting on every person who is involved with the organization to do the best they can. If my mind is elsewhere, there’s no way in heck I can do my best. I really haven’t had time to reflect on any of the job openings or any possibilities moving forward.”

The 49ers, who are 5-6 in 2020, host the Buffalo Bills in a critical matchup tonight on Monday Night Football.

– – Quotes via Justin Rogers of The Detroit News Link – –

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