Jim Washburn confirms he will coach with the Detroit Lions in 2013

Posted Jan 22, 2013

Veteran coach Jim Washburn is 'excited' to work with his son, Jeremiah, and contribute to the Detroit Lions' defensive staff any way he can

Jim Washburn

Veteran defensive assistant coach Jim Washburn confirmed Tuesday at the Senior Bowl that he's joining the Detroit Lions' coaching staff as a defensive assistant.

"I don't know, it was like a made-to-be thing, you know," he said when approached by Detroit reporters. "Jim (Schwartz) reached out to me after the season and I couldn't even get my heart into anything else. The chance to walk out onto the field with your son everyday, it's pretty special."

Washburn's son Jeremiah was promoted to Lions offensive line coach after the season after serving as the assistant line coach the last four years.

"It's a good situation for an old timer like me," Jim Washburn said. "I just want to come up here and try to help."

Washburn has coached the defensive line in he NFL for the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles since 1998.

Washburn was fired by the Eagles in December before the organization cleaned house and admitted Tuesday that Philadelphia wasn't a good fit after being in Houston and Tennessee for the first 13 years of his NFL coaching career.

He thinks a job with the Detroit Lions will be a much better fit, though.

"Jim and I go back a long time. We started back in 1999 and we're real close friends," he said. "I know everybody on the coaching staff. Matt Burke, Gunther, Kris Kocurek is like my other son. I recruited him out of high school and coached with him three years at the Titans. He's like family. They are really just good guys and I'm excited.

"I'll cherish the chance to be with Jeremiah Washburn and Kocurek. Schwartz is one of my best friends in life. It's just a strange situation. I know everyone on that staff. I know all their linemen."

The Lions don't have any plans to replace current defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and Washburn said he has no idea what his title will be with the Lions at this point.

"And I don't care," he said. "I have seven grand kids and they call me Coach. I'm Coach."

Washburn said he's very familiar with the Lions because he's watched every play on both offense and defense over the last four years while Jeremiah has been coaching.

"Jim Washburn is a legend. I tell you, if there's any coach that had any influence on my career, just watching every day is Jim Washburn," said Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who spent his first five years in the league in Tennessee with Washburn. "I mean, the guy coaches relentlessly, he has passion for the game, he gets the best out of every player he's ever encountered.

"He's more scheme than a motivator. He understands what our defense is. He understands what helps this defense. I think him and Coach Cunningham will definitely be on the same page and help each other when it comes to this defense – it's a unique kind of defense. It's not your ordinary 4-3 defense, it's a Wide 9, and you have to have the right personnel. I think Jim Washburn will get the right guys, the right personnel, to fit this defensive line and get us to where we need to get to as a team. Bringing him in only helps us."

When Washburn looks at the Lions roster he doesn't see a 4-12 team, which is one of the reasons he said he's excited to join.

"I already had my time," he said. "It isn't about anything other than winning. I'm excited."

Washburn is currently in a sling after undergoing shoulder replacement surgery last month and said he's expecting to be out of the sling sometime in the next two months.

The Lions have not officially announced Washburn's hire.