Cincinnati Bearcats coach Luke Fickell, interviewed with Lions last year, stays on teams’ radar – .

Cincinnati Bearcats coach Luke Fickell, interviewed with Lions last year, stays on teams’ radar – .

Luke Fickell brought the University of Cincinnati to the brink of college football playoffs. He’s also put himself squarely on the radar of NFL teams – even before this year.

The Detroit Lions quietly chatted with Fickell about their vacant head coach position last year before hiring Dan Campbell, sources say, and Fickell is expected within the league to be again in the mix for NFL jobs in the next hiring cycle, if he’s interested.

Fickell, 48, spent a season in the injured reserve as a player with the New Orleans Saints in 1997. He never coached in the NFL. But his excellent reputation as a male leader for 15 years on the Ohio State staff and the last five years with the upstart Bearcats make him intriguing, in the same way that Titans coach Mike Vrabel came from. from the same Buckeyes staff.

Would it make sense for Fickell to go for the pros if he can practically pick his next college move?

Big money is flying at the college level now, with Brian Kelly recently securing a 10-year, $ 100 million pact to leave Notre Dame for LSU. Michigan State’s Mel Tucker ($ 95 million) and Penn State’s James Franklin ($ 85 million) also recently cashed in 10-year deals. This changes the math for college coaches who have sparked NFL interest, such as Lincoln Riley, who recently left Oklahoma for his own nine-figure contract at USC, and Matt Campbell of Iowa State. , who has spoken in recent years with the Lions and New York. Jets and also sparked interest in high power college programs.

Matt Rhule’s seven-year, $ 60 million contract with the Panthers is considered the longest and richest for a college senior NFL head coach. Several NFL coaches are believed to earn over $ 10 million a year (a list that includes Bill Belichick of the Patriots, Sean Payton of the Saints and Pete Carroll of the Seahawks, among others). But none of the coaches hired in last year’s cycle come close to that number and none of their contracts exceed six years, although the terms of Urban Meyer’s contract with the Jaguars remain unknown.

Other college coaches who have generated interest in the NFL in the past include Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald and Stanford’s David Shaw.


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