49ers' Robert Saleh focused on beating Bills, not Lions coaching job

Jennifer Lee Chan
·2 min read

49ers' Saleh focused on Bills prep, not Lions HC opening originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Robert Saleh is keeping his focus on the task at hand: Game-planning for the 49ers' game against the Buffalo Bills on Monday.

Still, being suggested as the Detroit Lions' next head coach by a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers is a compliment the Dearborn, Mich. native appreciates. 

A letter authored by Michigan Rep. Abdullah Hammoud -- a Dearborn native himself -- and his staff implored Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp to hire Saleh. For now, he isn’t dedicating any time considering the job. 

“It’s really a non-issue for me,” Saleh said Friday. “I don’t even see it. I don’t have social media or look at the news so it’s more for friends and family that are enjoying it and getting a kick out of it than it is for me. I’m completely locked into Buffalo.”

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Detroit fired both Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn less than a week ago, with the Lions on track for their third consecutive losing season. The Lions went 13-29-1 in parts of three seasons under Patricia.

Saleh played for Northern Michigan, working for Michigan State and Central Michigan as a defensive assistant in his first two coaching jobs. His return to the Great Lake state might be desired by both Saleh and the Lions, but the defensive coordinator won't admit it.

At least not now.

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Saleh’s coaching has been impressive, especially considering he is without several key players who made sizable contributions to the team’s Super Bowl run of 2019. Without Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas and Richard Sherman for most of the season, the 49ers are still in the top 10 in several defensive measures. 

The 49ers have allowed the sixth-fewest yards per game (315.2), the fifth-fewest first downs per game (19.3) and the fourth-fewest opponent's offensive plays per game (60.4). The number of teams considering Saleh for a head coaching position likely will increase after the 2020 season concludes.