The Detroit Lions announced on Saturday an interesting addition to their coaching staff. The team made it known via its official Twitter account that it had hired former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett to the extremely vague-sounding role of offensive assistant.
Being that Barrett is just beginning his coaching career, that title makes a degree of sense. He’s a former offensive player, and he will presumably work with the offensive coaching staff and the team will find whatever role best suits him, and that will be how he makes his way into the coaching world.
The connection to Detroit likely comes via head coach Dan Campbell. Barrett spent much of the 2018 and 2019 NFL seasons on the New Orleans Saints practice squad, and Campbell was the team’s assistant head coach and tight ends coach at the time.
Campbell’s coaching staff already includes a lot of young (or youngish) former NFL players, including Duce Staley, Mark Brunell, Antwaan Randle-El, Aaron Glenn, Aubrey Pleasant and Kelvin Sheppard. It’s an interesting move for a young team to add those types of voices to the room. Most teams like to lean on experience, but they’re also trying more and more to connect with today’s players, and coaches who were recently players themselves would seem well-suited to do just that.
We don’t yet know what the coaching profession has in store for Barrett, but he’s got several coaches who were recently in a position just like him, to lean in as he makes his way into the coaching world.