ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Jim Caldwell is officially in the final season of his contract, but the fourth-year Detroit Lions head coach isn’t worried about entering lame-duck status.
And he says he’s not the only one. His wife, Cheryl, has never asked about it, either.
“I’m focused in on football, but I’ll tell you this,” Caldwell said. “Not any point in time of my life do I ever remember my life asking me about my contract. If she’s not worried about it…”
Caldwell then had a brief, jovial back-and-forth with a reporter before going on about how he doesn’t worry about players tuning him out because he’s in the final year of his deal without any guarantee for the future.
“I don’t even worry about it,” Caldwell said. “I think I’ve explained pretty well to you guys that there hasn’t been a time in my life, you operate under certain things. You never know. You can have a 15-year contract; it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be fired tomorrow. So you’ve always got to perform. So I never worried about those things. I could care less, to be honest with you. That’s my job. That’s my charge.”
The Lions signed Caldwell to a four-year deal in January 2014. Caldwell’s job status has been in question in 2015 and in 2016, but he made the playoffs in two of his three seasons with the Lions, compiling a 27-21 record with two wild-card appearances – losses to Dallas in the 2014 playoffs and Seattle last season.
General manager Bob Quinn said after last season he has “really enjoyed the day-to-day interactions” with his head coach. At the same January news conference, he said not having a coach under a long-term contract was “nothing that we need to avoid,” and didn’t seem too concerned about having his coach locked up to a long-term contract.
Walking off the podium after his initial news conference of the 2017 season, he was asked if two playoff appearances in three seasons should be worthy of a contract extension. Caldwell started his pat answer of saying he wasn’t worried about it and then paused.
“Those years don’t matter,” Caldwell said. “It’s this year coming up that matters. That’s the most important.”