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DETROIT – Jim Caldwell got a ringing endorsement from one of his mentors when Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew was doing his homework.

The Lions hired Caldwell on Tuesday to replace fired coach Jim Schwartz, ending a search that included a phone conversation between Mayhew and Tony Dungy.

“Martin called me and said, ‘We’re looking for a leader who can help turn our locker room into a winning one and to help us get the most out of our investment in Matthew Stafford,’ ” Dungy recalled in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I told Martin that ‘Jim Caldwell is exactly what you’re looking for. He’ll lead by making people accountable and by being a role model on and off the field. And with his attention to detail and history of developing quarterbacks, Stafford is going to flourish just like Peyton Manning did with us in Indianapolis.’ ”

Caldwell, 58, helped the Indianapolis Colts reach the Super Bowl after his debut season in 2009, but was fired two years later after a 2-14 season while Manning was injured, dropping his three-year record to 26-22.

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Before Caldwell was hired by the Dungy-led Colts in 2002 to be quarterbacks coach, he had the same job for Dungy with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Caldwell was hired by Baltimore two years ago to be their quarterbacks coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator late in the 2012 season. The Ravens went on to win the last Super Bowl over San Francisco.

“We believe Jim is the right man to lead our team and deliver a championship to our fans,” Lions owner William Clay Ford said in a statement.

Caldwell is the franchise’s first black head coach.

Titans introduce Whisenhunt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans introduced Ken Whisenhunt as their third different coach since the franchise moved to Tennessee from Houston in 1997.

Coach Mike Munchak was fired Jan. 4.

Titans quarterback Jake Locker, a former Washington Huskies standout, has missed 14 of 32 potential starts in the past two seasons because of injuries and is recovering from foot surgery.

In a text to the Tennessean newspaper, the 25-year-old Locker said, “I’m excited about the hire and looking forward to having the opportunity to work with coach Whisenhunt. He has always had very successful offenses and I look forward to learning from him.”

Whisenhunt, 51, said he liked Locker coming out of college.

Locker is under contract through this year and the team must decide by May if it will pick up an option for 2015.


• The San Diego Chargers promoted quarterbacks coach Frank Reich to offensive coordinator. Reich replaces Whisenhunt.

• The New York Giants hired Ben McAdoo as offensive coordinator. McAdoo previously was Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach.

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