Report: OL coach Hank Fraley is returning to the Detroit Lions in 2021

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Erik Schlitt
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The Free Press’ Dave Birkett is reporting that Detroit Lions offensive line coach Hank Fraley is returning to the team for the 2021 season. The team is expected to announce the move in the near future.

With Lions making sweeping changes throughout the front office and coaching staff, many position coaches were allowed to interview elsewhere this offseason. Fraley had interviews with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers but opted to return to the Lions.

An 11-year NFL offensive lineman, Fraley began coaching at the college level in 2012. He broke into the league in 2014 with the Vikings, but after three seasons went back to college and coached at UCLA in 2017.

In 2018, he joined the Lions as an assistant offensive line coach, was promoted to offensive line coach in 2020, and did a fantastic job this past season.

Under his tutelage in 2020, Taylor Decker had a career season at left tackle, rookie left guard Jonah Jackson was able to effectively start all 16 games, and center Frank Ragnow earned his first Pro Bowl honors, while also being recognized as a second-team All-Pro.

Constant injuries led to a revolving door at right guard and tackle, but Fraley was able to find success with replacement players, even when he was leaning on his fourth offensive tackle in Matt Nelson — who was a defensive lineman at Iowa just two years ago.

Fraley is a highly respected coach, who is known for being able to connect with his players while maximizing their potential. His returning to Detroit is a massive plus for the offense.

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