Lions tab Caldwell as head coach

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Updated: 1/14 7:44 pm

Allen Park, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Lions hired Jim Caldwell as their next head coach Tuesday following a two-week search to find a replacement for the fired Jim Schwartz.

Caldwell had a successful two-year run as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-10, taking the team to Super Bowl XLIV in his first season and reaching the playoffs with a 10-win performance the following year. The Colts plummeted to 2-14 in 2011 with Peyton Manning sidelined the entire season, however, triggering Caldwell's dismissal at the end of the campaign.

He resurfaced as the quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in December of that season after Cam Cameron was abruptly fired. With Caldwell taking over as the play caller, the Ravens ripped off four straight postseason victories, including a 34-31 triumph over San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII that brought the franchise its second world championship.

Caldwell also won a Super Bowl with the Colts in 2006 as an assistant under mentor Tony Dungy. He was named Indianapolis' head coach following Dungy's retirement after the 2008 season.

The 58-year-old Caldwell compiled a 26-22 overall record during his three-year stint in charge of the Colts, highlighted by a 14-2 season in 2009, and went 2-2 in playoff games.

He takes over a Lions team that has reached the postseason just once in the last 14 seasons, but possesses a promising offense that contains a talented quarterback in Matthew Stafford, one of the NFL's premier receivers in Calvin Johnson and a versatile weapon in running back Reggie Bush.

Caldwell is well-regarded for his work with quarterbacks, which likely attracted the Lions. He helped Manning develop into one of the game's elite passers during his time with the Colts, while Joe Flacco put together an outstanding playoff run in 2012 under Caldwell's tutelage.

Multiple reports had the Lions targeting San Diego offensive coordinator and former Arizona head man Ken Whisenhunt to take over for Schwartz, but Whisenhunt instead accepted an offer from the Tennessee Titans to become their head coach on Monday.

Caldwell becomes the third head coach hired this offseason with previous NFL experience at the position, joining Whisenhunt and new Tampa Bay sideline boss Lovie Smith.

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