Tagged in: Offensive coordinator

Eric Bieniemy returning as Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator for 2022 season

Eric Bieniemy is returning to the Kansas City Chiefs as offensive coordinator for the 2022 season, a source confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.

The news was first reported by NFL Network, which also reported he will be returning on a one-year deal.

Bieniemy’s contract expired after last season, and he and head coach Andy Reid recently met to discuss his future with the team. Bieniemy also worked on an expiring contract in 2020.

He had contemplated coaching in college, listening to other offers or even taking off a year after a physically and mentally draining season in which the Chiefs fell one game short of the Super Bowl and Bieniemy was again bypassed in the head-coach hiring cycle, ESPN’s Adam Schefter had reported.

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The Chiefs still have to fill their quarterbacks coach job after Mike Kafka left to become the New York Giants’ offensive coordinator.

Bieniemy has been on the Kansas City staff since 2013 and has spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator. His tenure as coordinator has coincided with Patrick Mahomes’ four-year stretch as Kansas City’s starting quarterback, and the Chiefs’ offense has ranked no worse than sixth in the NFL each season under Bieniemy.

Bieniemy, 52, has been a candidate for multiple head-coaching jobs in recent seasons and had interviewed for the Denver Broncos’ and New Orleans Saints’ positions this year.

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores included a section on Bieniemy’s inability to land a head-coaching job despite his success as an NFL assistant in his lawsuit versus the NFL and three teams (the Broncos, Giants and Dolphins) that alleges racial discrimination in the league’s hiring practices.

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Minnesota Vikings hiring Los Angeles Rams’ Wes Phillips as offensive coordinator

The Vikings are hiring Wes Phillips to join Kevin O’Connell’s staff as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Phillips has been with the Rams since the 2019 season and was the passing game coordinator and tight ends coach during the team’s Super Bowl run in 2021.

During his first two campaigns in Los Angeles, the 43-year-old coached tight ends, including Tyler Higbee, who set single-season franchise records in receptions (69) and receiving yards (734) by a tight end in 2019. Higbee was also the first tight end since 1970 to record four straight games of seven or more receptions.

Phillips started his NFL coaching career with the Cowboys in 2007 as a quality control coach/offensive assistant before serving as Dallas’ assistant offensive line coach (2011-12) and tight ends coach (2013).

Phillips then spent four seasons with Washington as the tight ends coach, where he overlapped with O’Connell during the 2017 and ’18 seasons.

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O’Connell stated during his introductory news conference on Thursday that he plans to call offensive plays during the 2022 season.

The role Phillips will hold in Minnesota is expected to be similar to the one O’Connell had as offensive coordinator in Los Angeles in 2020 and ’21.

While head coach Sean McVay served as the team’s playcaller, O’Connell helped build and develop the team’s game plan, which in Minnesota will mirror many of the concepts utilized in the Rams’ offense.

“We’re doing a lot of things that are simple for us, but maybe a little bit more difficult for a defense to defend,” O’Connell said last week. “Simple as things starting out looking the same but are different … things that people have seen our offense do in L.A. that they will absolutely see our offense do here in Minnesota.”

Phillips is the son of former Rams defensive coordinator and longtime NFL head coach Wade Phillips and the grandson of former Oilers and Saints coach Bum Phillips.

The Vikings already announced nine additions to O’Connell’s staff: assistant head coach Mike Pettine, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, defensive line coach Chris Rumph, quarterbacks coach Chris O’Hara, assistant quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson, tight ends/passing game coordinator Brian Angelichio, offensive line coach Chris Kuper, assistant offensive line coach Justin Rascati and running backs/run game coordinator Curtis Modkins.

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Minnesota Vikings officially hire ‘innovative’ Kevin O’Connell as new head coach

The Vikings formally hired Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell as the 10th head coach in franchise history Wednesday.

Vikings co-owner and president Mark Wilf called O’Connell “a strong leader, an innovative coach and an excellent communicator” in a statement issued from the team.

“Kevin played the game at all levels, which gives him a unique connection to players, and he is highly respected throughout the league,” he said.

Co-owner and chairman Zygi Wilf lauded O’Connell for his “football IQ” and said he “is passionate about preparing, developing and communicating with his players.”

“Beyond the Xs and Os, everyone we spoke with throughout this search process spoke highly of Kevin’s ability to motivate players, coaches and staff,” he said.

The Vikings plan to hold a news conference to introduce O’Connell as their new coach Thursday.

O’Connell, 36, becomes the second-youngest current NFL head coach, behind his now-former boss, Sean McVay, also 36 but eight months younger.

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Minnesota had not been permitted to revealed that it was hiring O’Connell while the Rams were still playing in the postseason.

Los Angeles’ season ended Sunday, culminating with its Super Bowl LVI triumph.

O’Connell was one of four candidates to receive a second interview with the Vikings, along with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, then-Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

“As I spent time with Kevin during the interview process, it became immediately clear he will be a great partner in building this football team for long-term success,” Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in the statement. “He understands what is critical to leading a team that wins at the highest level, and he has an ability to simplify the complex, which will help us in problem-solving in all football areas. He is a genuinely positive person who will help create a high-energy internal environment.”

O’Connell is expected to take Rams tight ends coach and passing game coordinator Wes Phillips with him to Minnesota as his offensive coordinator or passing game coordinator, league sources have told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Rams running backs coach Thomas Brown also will interview with the Vikings for their offensive coordinator job, per Schefter.

The Vikings also have their defensive coordinator for O’Connell’s staff, officially hiring Ed Donatell on Thursday. In addition, veteran defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been added as assistant head coach.

O’Connell becomes the second coordinator in two years on Sean McVay’s staff to land a head-coaching job, joining former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, who was hired by the Chargers last year. He is the fourth current NFL head coach who worked under McVay. The Bengals’ Zac Taylor and Packers’ Matt LaFleur are the others.

O’Connell replaces Mike Zimmer, who was fired last month after eight seasons. The Vikings finished with an 8-9 record and missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

O’Connell finished his second season as the Rams’ offensive coordinator since joining the franchise in 2020. Before that, he was with Washington for three seasons, as offensive coordinator in 2019, passing game coordinator in 2018 and quarterbacks coach in 2017 when he supervised current Vikings starter Kirk Cousins.

After dabbling in broadcasting, his first NFL coaching job came with the Browns in 2015 as their quarterbacks coach. The following year, he worked on special projects for the 49ers, when he befriended Adofo-Mensah, the recently appointed GM of the Vikings who was in research and development for San Francisco.

O’Connell was a quarterback in the NFL, taken by the Patriots in the third round of the 2008 draft and also spending time with the Lions, Jets, Dolphins and Chargers in five seasons through 2012.

He attempted only six passes for the Patriots as a rookie, the only regular-season attempts of his career, and he was released the following year.

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Miami Dolphins to hire Los Angeles Chargers’ Frank Smith as offensive coordinator

The Dolphins’ offensive staff under head coach Mike McDaniel continues to come together, as the team will hire Frank Smith as its offensive coordinator, a league source confirmed Monday.

Smith will work in conjunction with McDaniel, who will call plays, and wide receivers coach Wes Welker, who will help develop Miami’s passing game plan.

He is the fourth new hire on McDaniel’s offensive staff, joining Welker, tight ends coach Jon Embree and offensive line coach Matt Applebaum.

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NFL Network was the first to report the news of Smith’s hiring.

Smith, 40, joins McDaniel’s staff after a season as the Los Angeles Chargers’ run game coordinator and offensive line coach.

Under Smith, the Chargers finished 11th in pass block win rate in 2021, and 20th in run block win rate — improved from 19th and 32nd in 2020, respectively.

He takes over a Dolphins offense that ranked 25th in the NFL in yards per match last season, including 17th in passing yards and 30th in rushing. Miami’s offensive line also ranked last in pass block win rate, but was a far better run-blocking unit, concluding ninth in run block win rate.

Before his stint in Los Angeles, Smith worked as the tight ends coach for the Raiders from 2018-2020, the tight ends coach for the Bears from 2015-2017 and assistant offensive line coach for the Saints from 2010-2014.

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Las Vegas Raiders expected to hire New England Patriots’ Josh McDaniels as coach; name Dave Ziegler as GM

The Las Vegas Raiders have hired former New England Patriots director of player personnel Dave Ziegler as general manager on Sunday and are expected to hire Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their new head coach in a package deal.

The Raiders and McDaniels are still finishing a contract.

The 44-year-old Ziegler, the Patriots’ director of player personnel, replaces Mike Mayock, who was fired earlier this month. He interviewed with the Raiders earlier in January.

McDaniels, who was the head coach of the Denver Broncos for two seasons (2009-10), interviewed for the Raiders’ head-coaching job Saturday.

Jon Gruden resigned as the Raiders’ head coach on Oct. 11 following reports that emails he wrote before he was hired by the Raiders in 2018 included racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language.

Rich Bisaccia was promoted to interim coach and led the Raiders to a wild-card berth, only the Raiders’ second playoff appearance in the past 19 seasons.

Bisaccia was saluted on social media Sunday by both quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Maxx Crosby. Carr tweeted that Bisaccia was a “phenomenal coach and even better leader,” while Crosby tweeted that he “can’t tell you how much this man has impacted not only myself but everyone in this building.”

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McDaniels, 45, was 11-17 in his two seasons with the Broncos. He was fired after Week 13 in 2010 after the Broncos started 3-9. McDaniels started his Broncos tenure 6-0 before going 5-17 over his final 22 matches.

He accepted the Indianapolis Colts’ head-coaching job in 2018 but then decided not to take it. The Colts had announced the hire, but McDaniels never came to town and the Colts said they were “surprised and disappointed” by the decision. Frank Reich was later hired to fill that vacancy.

McDaniels had been the longest-tenured offensive coordinator with the same team in the NFL.

He’d held the position in New England since 2012.

Of his 21 NFL seasons, 18 have come in New England, which includes his initial stint from 2001 to 2008. McDaniels also served as the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2011.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick recently paid McDaniels a notable compliment, comparing him to longtime friend and current University of Alabama coach Nick Saban in terms of his understanding of the responsibilities of every player on the field.

McDaniels played a key role in the development of rookie quarterback Mac Jones in 2021.

McDaniels had consistently said in recent years that his goal was to become a head coach again, but he was also selective in what opportunities enticed him. A key factor was being able to work with a personnel chief with whom he knows well, and Ziegler fits the bill.

Ziegler landed his first personnel job in the NFL under McDaniels with the Broncos in 2010. The two both attended John Carroll University in Ohio and were teammates on the Blue Streaks’ football squad.

Ziegler spent three campaigns in Denver before following McDaniels to New England in 2013. He ascended from assistant director of pro personnel to director of pro personnel, then was assistant director of player personnel before assuming director of player personnel duties in 2021.

Belichick, who was named the Pro Football Writers of America’s Executive of the Year in 2021, noted multiple times over the course of the season that Ziegler was leading the personnel staff. Scouting consultant Eliot Wolf, who interviewed for multiple GM openings this offseason, was often at Ziegler’s side during games and is a candidate to fill his void.

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Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to interview with Jacksonville Jaguars

Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett stated he plans to interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars about their head-coaching vacancy next week.

The Packers (13-3) have clinched the NFC’s No. 1 seed and lone first-round playoff bye, so they won’t be playing when the postseason starts next week.

“I owed it to this organization, all these players, we wanted to wrap up that No. 1 seed,” Hackett said Thursday.

“That was so important to do. And it’s absolutely an honor to be even considered for something like this. So we’re going to do it during the bye because we wrapped up that No. 1 seed. We’re really excited about that opportunity. I mean, it’s a dream for any football coach to even have an opportunity to potentially become a head coach.”

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Hackett, 42, was the Jaguars’ quarterbacks coach from 2015 to 2016 and offensive coordinator from 2016 to 2018 before getting fired in the middle of the 2018 season. The Jaguars reached the AFC Championship Game in the 2017 season.

The Jaguars (2-14) fired Urban Meyer on Dec. 16 and have been searching for his successor while interim coach Darrell Bevell finishes up the season.

They interviewed former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson last week, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Monday and former Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is also anticipated to interview for the Jaguars head coaching job as early as Friday, sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

The Jaguars requested permission to talk with Leftwich during the regular season window.

Jacksonville has also requested interviews with Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.

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New York Giants fire offensive coordinator Jason Garrett

The New York Giants have fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett after he had less than two years on the job, the team revealed Tuesday.

The move comes as a result of continuing offensive struggles for the Giants (3-7) and follows their 30-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football.

“We made a decision to move on from Jason Garrett as the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants,” coach Joe Judge said.

“Look, I have a lot of respect for Jason as a person, as a coach. He’s been a tremendous asset for me as a young head coach. He’s helped our development here. He’s built very strong relationships in the building with the players, along with other support staff members. He’s done a good job putting the team first. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for everything he’s done for us.”

Judge stated this “is not a snap decision” after Monday night, acknowledging, “I don’t think there’s ever an ideal time to make a change like this in a season.” The Giants are on a short week after playing on Monday night. They were coming off a bye.

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Judge said the Giants will use a collaborative in-house effort to fill Garrett’s role.

A source told ESPN that Freddie Kitchens is expected to be involved in the playcalling. Judge declined to name a playcaller publicly and implied that he could perhaps be involved.

“Everything is on the table,” he said.

Garrett’s offense scored the fewest touchdowns of any team since the begining of last season. The Giants hired him in January 2020 after he had a long stint as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

It had been seven years since Garrett had called plays before returning to New York. He never hit his stride with the Giants, despite a strong relationship with quarterback Daniel Jones.

The sudden midseason ending was “certainly disappointing,” Garrett said in a statement in which he also expressed his gratitude to the Mara and Tisch families.

“One of the things that motivated me to accept this position was the opportunity to help rebuild the Giants into a contending team,” he added. “We knew there would be many challenges. My expectations for our offense were much greater than what our results have been, and I accept full responsibility for that.”

The Giants have averaged 18.9 points per game this campaign, ranking 25th in the NFL on offense. In 2020, Garrett’s first season, the Giants were 31st in the NFL at 17.5 points per game.

The Giants on Monday finished with 215 total yards — the second-lowest total of the 26-game Judge era — and just 66 rushing yards. The 15 first downs was a season low, and only one of the Giants’ 54 offensive plays vs. the Bucs gained more than 16 yards.

The Giants have scored 30 points only once in the 26 games since Garrett joined the team. Even that came with the help of a defensive touchdown.

Garrett, 55, joined the Giants in 2020 after nine-plus seasons as the Cowboys’ head coach. He didn’t call plays from 2012 to 2019, but he did lead Dallas to an 85-67 record.

The former Giants quarterback (2000-03) was always a curious hire, as he didn’t have any previous experience working with Judge. The lack of aggressiveness and offensive innovation had been obvious from the start of Garrett’s tenure.

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Indianapolis Colts’ Carson Wentz to have foot surgery, out 5-12 weeks, coach Frank Reich says

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz had surgery Monday on his injured left foot and be sidelined approximately five to 12 weeks, coach Frank Reich said.

Reich said it’s an old injury, possibly from high school, and a broken bone came loose in Wentz’s foot. Wentz felt a “twinge in his foot” when he rolled out and planted to throw late in Thursday’s practice, offensive coordinator Marcus Brady stated Friday.

The Colts met with multiple doctors to see what the best recovery process was.

All the parties involved agreed surgery was the way to go to remove the bone out of the fifth metatarsal of Wentz’s foot and ensure the injury didn’t return.

“I think it was a gut punch for him for about two hours,” Reich said. Reich said the reason for the wide recovery timetable is because players recover at different ranges.

The team will possibly have a better understanding on Wentz’s return once he starts the rehabilitation process between the two to four week range. The first two weeks after the surgery will be mainly rest.

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“Knowing Carson, I’m optimistic,” Reich said. “Knowing this is the type of injury you don’t have to be pain-free to play in. You have to get to an acceptable level of tolerating pain and then you can start playing. That could happen early.”

Dr. David Porter, an orthopedic foot specialist who works with the Colts, performed the surgery Monday in Indianapolis, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Colts gave up a third-round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional second-round pick (which could become a first-rounder if Wentz either plays at least 75% of the Colts’ offensive snaps or plays 70% of the snaps and the Colts reach the playoffs) in the 2022 draft to get Wentz.

Wentz was benched in favor of Jalen Hurts with the Eagles last season after being sacked 50 times and throwing 15 interceptions in 12 matches.

Injuries have been part of Wentz’s first five years in the NFL. He suffered a season-ending torn ACL late in the 2017 season. He has played a full season just twice in his career.

The schedule doesn’t do the Colts in any favors. The Colts’ first five games of the regular season are versus teams — the Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens — that went a combined 54-26 last season, with four of them making the playoffs.

The Colts, despite knowing Wentz’s injury history, lack experience at quarterback. Jacob Eason, Sam Ehlinger, Jalen Morton and Brett Hundley, whom the Colts signed Saturday, are the other quarterbacks on the roster.

Hundley is the only one of the four who has attempted an NFL pass. Eason, a fourth-round pick in 2020, will continue to receive first-team reps in practice and have an opportunity to start the regular season if Wentz is still sidelined.

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Jason Garrett expected to return as New York Giants’ offensive coordinator

New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is expected to return after a shaky campaign in which the team concluded 31st in total offense and points scored, a source told ESPN.

Although Garrett will stay, there will be some variations to the Giants’ offensive staff, among them the possibility of internal alterations when it comes to the responsibilities of those currently on staff. Increased responsibility for quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens is possible.

In addition, the Giants are searching for a new offensive line coach, with assistant line coach Ben Wilkerson and former Houston Texans line coach Mike Devlin among those being interviewed. Tolbert is also reportedly in the running to be the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator.

This was the anticipated outcome with Garrett despite the Giants’ offensive struggles, especially after the coaching carousel had spun for weeks and there was no word on his future. The belief is that some stability for quarterback Daniel Jones and the offense could be valuable. Jones has already had two offensive coordinators and systems in his first two NFL seasons.

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“As far as the potential of Jason leaving, of course it makes you a little antsy,” general manager Dave Gettleman said after the season. “Just imagine, anybody, any of you guys, having your fourth editor in four years. It’s the same thing. It’s no different. We’ll adjust and adapt and do what we have to do, and obviously anything we do moving forward, Daniel is a big part of it. We’re certainly conscious of that piece, to answer your question.”

Garrett, 54, came to New York after nine seasons as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach.

But it was at the request of ownership that first-year coach Joe Judge looked at the former Giants backup quarterback to be his coordinator.

Despite Judge signing off on it, the marriage seemed arranged and wasn’t perfect in Year 1. It became obvious that Garrett might not be the perfect match with Judge when offensive line coach Marc Colombo was fired midseason. Colombo and Garrett had spent years together in Dallas. Colombo wasn’t happy that Judge was bringing in veteran offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo as a consultant, and the situation deteriorated from there.

DeGuglielmo’s contract has since expired, and he is not expected to return, according to multiple sources.

Garrett sidestepped a question late in the season about whether he would return for a second year with the Giants.

“I’m just excited about the opportunity we have this week,” he said before the season finale against the Cowboys. “Really, I’ve just tried to stay in the moment in any position I’ve had as a player or coach in the NFL. That’s typically when you play your best and coach your best. That’s really what I’m focused on.”

Before his nine-season stint as the Cowboys’ head coach, Garrett was Dallas’ offensive coordinator. But he hadn’t called plays since 2012. The Giants’ offense also took a serious hit when star running back Saquon Barkley tore his knee in Week 2. Barkley, along with Garrett now, also is expected back for next season.

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Lions to hire ex-Chargers coach Anthony Lynn as offensive coordinator

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell knew he wanted to get some experience around him on his coaching staff, and on Saturday he did that, signing former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn as the team’s offensive coordinator, sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

The 52-year-old Lynn had been with the Chargers from 2017 to ’20 with a record of 33-31. Before that, he was the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills for one season, in 2016.

He and Campbell have familiarity with each other, too. Lynn was the running backs coach in Dallas in 2005 when Campbell was a tight end with the team.

“What’s more important than anything to me as far as an offensive coordinator is someone that I believe has the vision of the offense kind of the way I do,” Campbell stated Thursday.

“Just in regard to, ‘Listen, I’m not going to get hung up on what you want to call the terminology. I’m not going to get hung up on the style of system that you want to put in.’

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“I’m more into, ‘Man, show me what are the nuts and bolts that you believe in.'”

One thing Campbell stressed in his introductory news conference is making sure his coordinators — the team officially informed Aaron Glenn as its defensive coordinator Saturday — can identify and exploit matchup mismatches.

In Buffalo in 2016, Lynn had the best rushing offense in the NFL, averaging 164.4 yards a game and 5.35 yards per carry with LeSean McCoy as his main back. Lynn has also shown a willingness to throw.

His Chargers team this past season was sixth in the league in passing yards per match (270.6) with a rookie quarterback, Justin Herbert, behind center the majority of the season and had the No. 6 passing offense in 2019 (276.6 yards per game).

Lynn will likely be working with a new quarterback in 2021, too, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Matthew Stafford has requested a trade from Detroit — the only place he has played in his career after being drafted No. 1 overall in 2009.

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