Michigan lawmakers penned an open letter to Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp on Tuesday asking for the team to hire San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator as the organization's new head coach. Saleh is a native of Dearborn, Mich. who played college football at Northern Michigan University as a tight end, and began his coaching career as a defensive assistant at Michigan State.
Rep. Abdullah Hammound (D-Dearborn) took the lead on the letter, with 36 other bipartisan members of the Michigan House of Representatives joining him. Here's a portion of the letter, per The Detroit News.
"We are writing today to thank you for your recent decision to make a change at manager and head coach for your franchise," the letter states. "These decisions are often difficult but are necessary to move forward. For many in our state, and across the globe, the Detroit Lions hold a special place in our lives. We look forward to future success through transitioning to a new manager and head coach.
"Speaking of head coach, we have one name in mind - Robert Saleh," the letter continues. "A hometown hero, Robert was raised in the Dearborn community, attended Fordson High School, played his college career at Northern Michigan University, and coached at Michigan State University. Everywhere Robert has been he has achieved success. Most recently, as Defensive Coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, his defense has improved across numerous categories; turnovers, sacks, and yards allowed per game. He has built and maintained one of the best defenses in the league."
Government officials aren't the only people advocating for Saleh to get the job in Detroit. His own players are pushing for their coordinator to get a promotion, even though Saleh means he'll have to leave the franchise.
"He has to get the Detroit job," Richard Sherman told Sports Illustrated. "Homegrown. He's a great leader of men. And he's not stubborn. He doesn't just think he has all the answers. He comes up with a great plan, and evolves it with his players."
The number of legislators involved in the letter is actually less than the total number of people in the Michigan House who support the Saleh hiring. Hammoud told ESPN that some of those who didn't sign the letter did not want to jinx the potential hiring.
Saleh, along with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, has become one of the most attractive head coaching candidates in the NFL. Should Detroit want to reach out to the San Francisco coordinator, they'll be allowed to interview him next month.
Darrell Bevell is currently the Lions' interim head coach after Matt Patricia was fired for posting a 13-29-1 record in just under three seasons. Patricia was hired after the organization determined Jim Caldwell had not done enough to elevate Detroit to the next level as a team. For what it's worth, Caldwell posted a 36-38 record during his tenure.