Report: Ben Johnson Staying as Lions OC Despite Panthers, More HC Interest

Doric SamJanuary 18, 2023

FILE - Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson watches from the sideline during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Dec. 24, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. The Carolina Panthers have requested permission to interview four different NFL offensive coordinators for their head coaching vacancy, including Johnson, Philadelphia’s Shane Steichen, Buffalo’s Ken Dorsey and New York Giants’ Mike Kafka, according to a person familiar with the situation. (AP Photo/Brian Westerholt, File)
AP Photo/Brian Westerholt, File

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has been one of the hottest names on the head coaching market this offseason, but it appears he's content to stay put.

Per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Johnson has informed interested teams that he will continue with his position in Detroit. He had been slated to interview with the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday.

In addition to interest from the Panthers, the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans already completed interviews with Johnson. Pelissero noted that Johnson "feels Detroit is building something special and wants to see it through."

The 36-year-old has seen a swift rise within the Lions coaching staff since his start as an offensive quality control coach in 2019. He was named tight ends coach in 2020, and head coach Dan Campbell retained him upon his hiring in 2021. Prior to the 2022 season, Johnson replaced Anthony Lynn as offensive coordinator.

Johnson spearheaded a massive turnaround for the Lions offense, which ranked fourth in the NFL this season with 380.0 yards per game. Detroit closed the year with wins in eight of its last 10 games, which inspired optimism for the team's future.

The performance of Lions quarterback Jared Goff also reflected well on Johnson, as the 2016 No. 1 overall pick threw for 4,438 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. It was his first time surpassing 4,000 yards in a season since 2019.

Keeping Johnson gives the Lions some much-needed continuity as the franchise takes the next step in its rebuild. Detroit is an attractive destination for free agents looking to join a rising contender in 2023.