Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
The Lions have officially parted ways with several offensive assistants on New Year’s Eve, a day after finishing the season a disappointing 4-12. Running Backs coach Sam Gash, Wide Receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, and Offensive line Assistant George Yarno will not be back in Detroit, according to numerous sources.
They were not technically fired, despite what some sources have claimed. All three had expiring contracts that ended today, and the Lions chose not to extend any of those contracts. Jefferson in particular was looking to move onward, according to a source I exchanged texts with, as the longtime coach has not hidden his desire to move into a larger role. That was not going to happen in Detroit, and the parting is probably best described as a mutual decision. Jefferson will find a job quickly and could very well be part of a staff being assembled by a new head coach taking over a team. He is well-respected around the league
The source I asked about Yarno and Gash expressed to me that neither coach would be surprised by not coming back. Gash was a holdover from the Marinelli regime, where he began as a special teams assistant before moving up to RB Coach the year before Schwartz took over. Yarno came to the team with Scott Linehan from the Rams. Gash deserves credit for the progress of Joique Bell, while Yarno helped the line go from embarrassing to solid.
There were reports that TE Coach Tim Lappano was also terminated, but those proved to be erroneous and premature. No other changes have been announced, though that does not mean other coaches will not be changed. I have heard that more changes are “very likely” but cannot confirm that. As for potential replacements, Offensive Assistant Kyle Valero has worked extensively with the wideouts and is still with the team as of this report, and he could rise up to replace Jefferson.