CBS Sports's Dennis Dodd reported last week that Matt Campbell turned down an 8-year, $68.5 million contract to coach the Detroit Lions to remain at Iowa State. The report, which came during a live discussion about Power 5 coaches among the CBS Sports staff, caused quite a stir in college football, and also in Detroit.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, speaking with "a Lions source with knowledge of the process" said that no offer was ever made and that the team got its No. 1 choice, Dan Campbell.
The source told Birkett that the Lions did discuss their opening with Campbell -- the Iowa State coach also reportedly spoke with the New York Jets -- but the conversation never got beyond a first interview, and certainly never to a point where contract specifics were discussed and offered.
The report says the Lions interviewed Dan Campbell on Jan. 11 -- the first day NFL rules made him available -- and implies they would have hired him sooner than his Jan. 20 hire date if not for NFL rules preventing coaches from taking jobs during their respective seasons. Campbell, with the Saints at the time, did not become formally eligible for hire until New Orleans was eliminated by Tampa Bay on Jan. 17.
Campbell pulled his name from the running for any NFL openings on Jan. 10.
Either the Lions offered Matt Campbell a contract or they didn't; only he and the Lions search firm know the full truth. But it seems both sides are sharing their truth. It looks better for Campbell and Iowa State to claim he turned down an NFL contract -- and a fat one with that, with specific numbers attached.
And of course the Lions are going to say they only had eyes for the guy they eventually hired.