Detroit Lions sign Jim Caldwell to multi-year contract extension

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Maybe now the questions about Jim Caldwell’s future as Detroit Lions coach can stop.

Caldwell has signed a multi-year contract extension with the Lions, the team confirmed Saturday afternoon.

ESPN, which first reported the news, said the deal actually was signed “months ago” but not disclosed.

Caldwell, whose original contract with the Lions was set to expire after the season, has repeatedly declined to talk about his future with the team. This week, he even declined to say if he had recently signed a new deal.

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“I’ve told you guys I’ll answer it the same way now and you ask me eight weeks down the road, I’m only concerned about a couple things,” Caldwell said. “It’s my men and my mission. And our mission is to win. Everything else will take care of itself. And they aren’t worried about anything else other than that. So, that’s our focus.”

Asked if he would tell reporters if he had signed an extension, Caldwell said, “No. That’s the honest truth.”

Caldwell has led the Lions to a 29-21 record in his three-plus seasons with the team.

He has the best winning percentage of any Lions coach in the modern era, and the team has reached the playoffs twice in his three seasons as coach.

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Still, Caldwell has faced constant speculation about his future.

Last year, his first with Lions general manager Bob Quinn, Caldwell had the Lions on the brink of winning their first division championship in 24 years only to lose the final three games of the regular season.

The Lions still made the playoffs as a wild card, after Washington lost its final game of the season, then lost a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Lions announced Caldwell would return for a fourth season as coach last January, after their Week 17 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Lions players have routinely praised Caldwell for the way he manages the locker room, and the Lions have two of the brightest coordinators in the NFL in Teryl Austin and Jim Bob Cooter.

Both assistants could be up for head-coaching jobs this winter.

“When I was here the first time, Caldwell, it was his first time coaching (the Lions and) he just brought it out of us,” recently re-signed defensive end George Johnson said this week. “He just told us every week to go after it, hold nothing back. He never lied to us or anything like that about what we were going to do, and he always made sure he took care of us. So when he took care of us, we was like, ‘OK, we got to take care of him,’ and we went out there and gave it our all for him.”

The Lions, 2-0 after season-opening wins over the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants, play the Atlanta Falcons in a showdown of undefeated teams Sunday at Ford Field.

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Contact Dave Birkett: dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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Source : http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/09/23/detroit-lions-sign-jim-caldwell-multi-year-contract-extension/696852001/

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