Anthony Lynn shoots down USC speculation; focus '1 million percent' with Lions

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn anticipated questions about his name being mentioned for USC's coaching vacancy during his weekly media session Thursday. His only surprise is it took reporters so long to bring the topic up. 

"I'm surprised that was the fourth question," Lynn said with a smile. "I was waiting on that one."

Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn says he has not been contacted by USC.

On Monday, NFL Media reporter Jim Trotter reported USC boosters had reached out to gauge Lynn's interest in the opening, but there had yet to be official contact from the school. Lynn confirmed the second part in an attempt to quell the speculation. 

"You know, my sister graduated from USC, half my family is in California, a lot of guys I played with went to USC, so of course those guys have talked to me," Lynn said. "That's flattering, but to be honest with you, I'm surprised something like this even went public.

"No, I haven't spoken with USC at all," Lynn continued. "My focus is one million percent right here with the Detroit Lions. I love what Coach (Dan) Campbell and (general manager) Brad Holmes are doing, the Ford family. And I love the grit in our players. I love this fan base. We want to win for these people and we're going to build a consistent winner here. This is where my focus is, right now, and we've got a hell of an opportunity to get our first (win) at Soldier Field, a place I loved to play at."

Lynn, a six-year NFL veteran as a running back and special-teams performer, entered the coaching ranks in 2000 with the Denver Broncos, a year after playing his final season with the franchise. From there, he went on to serve as a position coach with five teams, while also holding an assistant head-coaching title with both the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. 

In 2017, Lynn was hired as the head coach of the Chargers, where he spent the past four seasons, leading the franchise to a 33-31 record and a playoff berth in 2018. He was fired after the 2020 season. 

"I'm not sure there is another person in this league more respected as a human being than Anthony, and I want to sincerely express my deepest gratitude for his leadership during a time of great change for our organization," Chargers owner Dean Spanos said in a statement after making the decision. "As we all know, this is a results-driven business and, simply put, the results of the past two years have fallen short of expectations."

The Chargers would go on to hire Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley as Lynn's replacement, while he landed in Detroit as Campbell's offensive coordinator. This year has been Lynn's first opportunity to serve as a full-time play-caller since an interim stint as Buffalo's coordinator in 2016. 

The USC job opened up after the team fired Clay Helton following a 42-28 loss to Stanford on Sept. 11. A former position coach and coordinator who served as an interim head coach twice before getting the full-time gig, Helton amassed a 46-24 record at USC, including a 2-3 mark in bowl games. The school had finished unranked in 2018 and 2019 and No. 21 in the AP poll a year ago. 

Asked if he would consider the job if approached, Lynn said he didn't even have time to think about it, saying his focus is on being a successful coordinator for the Lions. But he did acknowledge the appeal of coaching at the collegiate level. 

"You know it's got to be an honor and a privilege to work with young men and help them develop in life," Lynn said. "But you can also do that in the National Football League, as well."

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers