Jim Caldwell got a ringing endorsement from one of his mentors when Detroit Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew was doing his homework.
The Lions hired Caldwell on Tuesday to replace fired coach Jim Schwartz, ending a search that included a phone conversation between Mayhew and Tony Dungy.
“Martin called me and said we’re looking for a leader who can help turn our locker room into a winning one and to help us get the most out of our investment in Matthew Stafford,” Dungy recalled in a telephone interview. “I told Martin that Jim Caldwell is exactly what you’re looking for.”
Detroit wanted to replace Schwartz with someone with experience as a head coach, ideally with a track record of tutoring quarterbacks.
Caldwell helped the Indianapolis Colts reach the Super Bowl after his debut season in 2009, but was fired two years later after a 2-14 season while Peyton Manning was injured, dropping his three-year mark to 26-22.
Caldwell was hired by Baltimore two years ago to be their quarterbacks coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator late in the 2012 season.
SETTLEMENT IN JEOPARDY — A federal judge in Philadelphia denied preliminary approval of a $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, fearing it might not be enough to cover 20,000 retired players for payouts, medical tests and treatment.
U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody asked for more financial analysis, a week after players’ lawyers filed a detailed payout plan to both parties.
BRONCOS MAKE MOVES —The Denver Broncos signed free-agent Marquice Cole to replace injured cornerback Chris Harris Jr.
Harris went on injured reserve after tearing his left ACL in Denver’s 24-17 win over San Diego last weekend.
Cole was released Dec. 26 by the New England Patriots (13-4), whom the Broncos (14-3) host Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.
GIANTS HIRE QB COACH — The New York Giants hired Green Bay Packers quarterback coach Ben McAdoo, 36, as their new offensive coordinator after a quick two-week search.
CHARGERS PROMOTE ASSISTANT — The San Diego Chargers promoted quarterbacks coach Frank Reich to offensive coordinator.