Kubiak, passed over by Lions, leads Broncos

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Lions will face a man on Sunday they considered for their head-coaching vacancy back in 2014.

Gary Kubiak, who’d been fired as head coach of the Houston Texans in December of the 2013 season, was among the coaches the Lions interviewed as they looked to replace Jim Schwartz. Instead, the Lions hired Jim Caldwell, Kubiak replaced Caldwell as the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens and this year he became the head coach for the Denver Broncos.

“It was very educational for me,” Kubiak said of his interview with the Lions in a teleconference Wednesday.

The Lions ultimately decided to hire Caldwell, though Ken Whisenhunt was a front-runner before he accepted the head-coaching job with the Tennessee Titans.

For Kubiak, the year delay couldn’t have worked out much better as he landed with a Broncos team with which he spent his entire playing career (1983-91) and much of his early coaching career (1995-05). However, he was still appreciative of the chance to talk with Lions general manager Martin Mayhew.

“It’s a great group of guys there, and Martin does a hell of a job there,” Kubiak said. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity to come in there and get a chance to visit with them. Obviously, they picked a great football coach in Jim. He’s a hell of a coach and a great person.

“I followed him in Baltimore, and any time you get an opportunity to be a part of things like that and get in those environments and talk football with people you get better.”