The Macomb Daily

‘Don’t ruin a good thing’: Ben Johnson explains decision to return

- By John Maakaron This article was produced by the staff at Sports Illustrate­d/All Lions. For more, visit

One of the primary goals of any new coaching regime is establishi­ng buy-in from the staff and the locker room.

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has establishe­d a new culture since he was hired two years ago.

With a steady approach and demonstrat­ing he can relate to players and colleagues, Campbell has earned the respect of his players and his coaching staff.

In fact, Lions offensive coordinato­r Ben Johnson decided to potentiall­y forego an opportunit­y to become an NFL head coach to return to the Lions in 2023.

Appearing on the latest “Twentyman In the Huddle” podcast, Johnson explained why he decided to return to Motown.

“It starts with this place and these people,” Johnson expressed. “Being here four years now, I believe in Sheila (Hamp), what she’s doing. Rod Wood. Dan (Campbell), Brad (Holmes). It starts at the top, and I think it’s trickled down. This is as encouraged as I’ve been in my four years with the direction of the Lions, and where we’re headed.”

Johnson understand­s the team has the potential to have a very productive season in 2023.

He recalled a feeling he had at a country music concert at Ford Field that he really wants to recreate for supporters of the Lions.

“I always go back to this story right before COVID hit. It was one of the first offseasons I had here. Garth Brooks had a concert down at Ford Field, and I remember sitting there thinking at the time. I was just soaking it in, the atmosphere, and it was like, ‘Holy cow, this is what a home playoff game is going to be like.’ This is what I want to be a part of,” Johnson continued. “This is what I want to feel. This is what I want to experience, and it made me feel some type of way. And, I kept going back to that, as a part of the process. And you know what? There’s so many good things going on here — so many good people, coaches, players. I love the offensive staff. Everyone that we have on board there, I love the players. I love coming in to work every day. Coach Campbell is incredible. And, so at the end of the day, talking with my family, it just made sense. It made sense. Don’t ruin a good thing.”

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