Lions part ways with inside linebacker coach Mark DeLeone
The Detroit Lions will be in search of a new position coach this offseason after parting ways with inside linebacker coach Mark DeLeone this week. The circumstances of the departure remain unclear. Both he and multiple team sources declined comment.
Son of legendary offensive line coach George DeLeone, Mark joined Detroit's staff last offseason after two years with the Chicago Bears. He's also spent time with the New York Jets (2012) and Kansas City Chiefs (2013-18).
In 2021, DeLeone started the year with a veteran group, led by Jamie Collins and free-agent addition Alex Anzalone. That dynamic shifted quickly when Collins was cut early in the season after the team decided to go in a different direction and couldn't find a trade partner.
Anzalone, voted a captain by his teammates, would start the first 14 games, playing a career-high 828 defensive snaps and recording a personal-best 78 tackles before his year was prematurely ended by a shoulder injury.
Collins' spot was filled by a rotation between Jalen Reeves-Maybin and rookie Derrick Barnes. Both Anzalone and Reeves-Maybin are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in March.
The Lions have two assistants still on staff with experience coaching inside linebackers who could backfill the position.
Stephen Thomas, who has been with the Lions since 2019, coached inside linebackers and served as the special teams coordinator during two stints at Princeton University totaling six years.
The Lions could also look to David Corrao, who is currently serving as the team's director of football research, a title he's held the past four seasons.
Prior to coming to Detroit, Corrao held various coaching positions both in college and the NFL, including five years working with linebackers with the Miami Dolphins, where he overlapped with Lions head coach Dan Campbell.
Both Thomas and Corrao worked in elevated coaching roles during the Senior Bowl earlier this month, providing Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn an opportunity to evaluate them as replacements.