It’s that time of year again when a select few teams are still slugging it out for the chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy while the rest of the league is hard at work earnestly making changes to their coaching staff in preparation for next season. This time, two former Dallas Cowboys have been in the news lately and are slated to move up the league’s coaching ranks this week.
Most prominently, former Cowboys’ tight end Dan Campbell is expected to be named the head coach of the Detroit Lions within the coming days. Campbell has been with the New Orleans Saints since 2016 as the assistant head coach and tight ends coach. While he doesn’t have experience as a coordinator, he has previously served as interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2015 and guided the team to a 5-7 record.
Campbell suited up for the Cowboys from 2003-2005. He was primarily used as a blocking tight end behind Jason Witten, though he did rack up 25 catches, 235 yards, and two touchdowns across 35 games. During his time in New Orleans, he was the right-hand man to Saints’ head coach Sean Payton who in turn was the assistant head coach to Bill Parcells in Dallas throughout Campbell’s tenure.
In other coaching news, former Cowboys’ wide receiver Miles Austin will be coaching the receivers for the New York Jets. The move makes a lot of sense for both sides. First and foremost Austin was with new Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh in San Francisco as the 49ers’ offensive quality control coach this past season. Furthermore, Austin hails from the area, as he attended high school in Garfield, New Jersey, and played for Monmouth in college before he signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2006.
Austin was a two-time Pro Bowler including in 2009 when he led the NFC in receiving yards. That season was highlighted by a 10 catch, 250 yards, two-touchdown performance against the Kansas City Chiefs when Austin set the Cowboys single-game receiving yards record in his first career start. He was a solid and underappreciated weapon in Dallas for eight seasons and still ranks fifth in franchise history for kick return yards, eighth for receiving yards, and tenth in receiving touchdowns.
Dan Campbell and Miles Austin are moving up the coaching ranks. So which member of the Dallas Cowboys could be next?
Seeing two former Dallas Cowboys ascend the NFL’s coaching ranks makes you wonder who will be the next member of America’s Team to make waves as a coach across the league. Current offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has already made a name for himself across the league and is attracting consideration for the Philadelphia Eagles‘ head coach vacancy.
For current players, my money would probably be on linebacker Sean Lee. He’s long been praised for his passion and cerebral approach to the game, but it was evident this season he’s lost a step and is nearing the end of his career. I still believe Lee has more to give the game, it just may not be as a player.
Former Cowboys’ running back DeMarco Murray has been busy coaching running backs for his alma mater the Oklahoma Sooners and could one day make the leap to the NFL. Additionally, former tight end Jason Witten and quarterback Tony Romo have also both publically mused coaching at some point in the future. Witten has gone so far as to say that coaching was in his future “for sure”. Meanwhile, back in January 2019, Romo even said:
"“I’m sure one day I’ll coach. Right now, I’m happy with where I’m at”"
Both Campbell and Austin have always been lauded for their strong football IQs since their playing days and it’s great to see them moving up as coaches in the league. The Dallas Cowboys are not scheduled to face Campbell’s Lions or Austin’s Jets in 2021.