Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has signed a multiyear contract extension with the team. The deal was struck months ago, the Lions said.
Caldwell, 62, had been in the final year of his contract and consistently has had to answer questions about whether he will return in 2018. Those questions included speculation about retirement and whether he felt he should be coaching on a lame-duck deal.
Turns out he never was leaving.
"I don't worry about those kinds of things," Caldwell said earlier in September, when he was asked about an extension. "I don't think twice about them. They don't concern me. I have one mission: to take care of my men and to win football games. ... That's the truth.
"So it may be great to ask those questions, which is fine. I'm going to answer them the exact same way if you ask them now or six weeks from now. It's going to be exactly the same way. It doesn't concern me. My concern, like I said, is winning football games."
Players have routinely said how much they enjoy playing for Caldwell and how they appreciate his approach to keeping them fresh throughout the season. He also has been credited for helping turn Matthew Stafford -- now the NFL's highest-paid player -- into one of the league's better quarterbacks.
Caldwell has taken the Lions to the playoffs in two of his three seasons. With a winning percentage of .580 (29-21), he is the most successful Detroit coach in the Super Bowl era.
Caldwell faced questions about his job security in both 2015 and 2016. When the Lions fired then-general manager Martin Mayhew and replaced him with Bob Quinn, Quinn took a week to decide whether he wanted to keep Caldwell before retaining him. Then last season, the Lions announced during the week leading up to their playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks that Caldwell would be returning.
Over seven seasons as a head coach with the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit, Caldwell has a 55-43 record. He has made the playoffs four times and has had three seasons of 10 wins or more.
The Lions carry a 2-0 record into Sunday's early-season showdown with the Falcons.