With Darrell Bevell out Saturday, Robert Prince takes over as Detroit Lions head coach

Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read

Darrell Bevell is out. Robert Prince is in. And the Detroit Lions are going — for one week at least — with their third head coach of the season.

Prince will assume head coaching duties for Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after Bevell, who was named interim coach after Matt Patricia was fired last month, was deemed a high-risk close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 positive case, ESPN and NFL Network reported.

Detroit Lions wide receivers coach Robert Prince pushes Marvin Hall during drills at practice, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions wide receivers coach Robert Prince pushes Marvin Hall during drills at practice, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Allen Park.

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Prince is a former college offensive coordinator at Boise State and the Lions' longest-tenured assistant coach. He joined Jim Caldwell's staff in 2014, was retained by Patricia in 2018, and is in his seventh season as Lions receivers coach and 13th NFL season overall.

"He's one of the best coaches I’ve ever had," receiver Danny Amendola said earlier this season. "Brings the juice every single day, gets guys in the right mentality day in and day out. Meetings, practice, games and an amazing coach to play for. I love him to death. Really, really happy to be playing for him."

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Prince's winding coaching road has taken him from small colleges like Humboldt State and Fort Lewis College to the Japanese X League, where he was offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 1996-97, to the NFL.

He spent three seasons as an offensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons in 2004-06 and three more coaching wide receivers for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks before returning to college as pass game coordinator for Colorado in 2010.

"He’s one of the best wide receiver coaches in the league," Patricia said earlier this year. "But he’s again, the X’s and O’s, he’s super smart offensively, he handles a lot of things for us in the passing game, and like I said, he really coaches his players hard and he gets them better."

Lions wide receivers coach Robert Prince talks with the media during the first day of training camp at the Lions practice facility in Allen Park on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.
Lions wide receivers coach Robert Prince talks with the media during the first day of training camp at the Lions practice facility in Allen Park on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.

While Prince will assume head coaching duties, quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan will call offensive plays, NFL Network reported.

Ryan has never been a play caller at any level.

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Bevell is one of five Lions coaches in quarantine after practice squad linebacker Anthony Pittman and one unidentified assistant coach tested positive for COVID-19.

Defensive coordinator Cory Undlin and defensive position coaches Bo Davis (defensive line), Ty McKenzie (linebackers) and Steve Gregory (defensive backs) also are in quarantine and might not be available Saturday.

Bevell said all affected coaches are helping with the game plan.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions' Robert Prince to fill in for head coach Darrell Bevell