MOBILE, Ala. _ Jim Washburn is right where he wants to be – not only coaching football again, but coaching with his son.
Washburn, the one-time Tennessee Titans defensive line coach, on Tuesday signed a contract to be an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions. His son Jeremiah was recently named to be the Lions offensive line coach.
And, Washburn will assist Kris Kocourek, the Lions' defensive line coach, whom he has mentored since Kocourek spent some time with the Titans on their practice squad and as a backup defensive tackle.
“I'm really excited. When Jim reached out to me, really I couldn't get my heart into any other job,” Washburn said of the chance to coach with his son.
Washburn was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles toward the end of last season, but at age 63 has found a nice landing spot that seems to be the right fit.
“The chance to work with your son, but not only that Jim Schwartz is one of my closest friends. Gunther Cunningham, Matt Burke, Marcus Robertson, I know all those guys,” Washburn said. “I watched every snap they had played on offense and defense the last four years because of my son.”
As for what is specific title will be, that remains undefined, and as Washburn said, “It doesn't matter. I'm just gonna go coach.”
The move to Detroit reunites Washburn with Kyle Vanden Bosch, whom he coached in Tennessee and also allows him to work with Ndamakong Suh and Nick Fairley. He is already plenty familiar with them.
“There's a whole lot of talent. Before the playoff game last year, I spoke to the defensive line the night before the playoff game, because I knew them all. They're a bunch of good guys and good players,” he said.
Washburn was on the field Wednesday, watching as the Lions coaching staff ran the South team through practice. He isn't sure when he will jump in and coach, as his right arm was in a sling following shoulder replacement surgery performed at Vanderbilt.
“Jim and I haven't talked about it. I need to get this shoulder cleared. I had total shoulder replacement. After I got fired, I was like, when does an NFL coach have eight weeks in an entire year? I was gonna take my summer vacation to get my shoulder replaced,” Washburn said.
After he was fired, a number of teams reached out to the veteran coach. The Titans had some contact with Washburn, but the veteran coach is happy with how things worked out.
“It worked out good. I'm excited about it. How many times to you get the chance to coach with your son?” he said.