I know the name Jim Tressel still carries with it a significant amount of controversy around these parts. Almost three years ago, he broke the hearts of Buckeyes everywhere, stepping down as head coach of Ohio State’s football team when it was revealed that he knew about Tattoo-gate. Following his departure, he was hired by the Indianapolis Colts as a replay-review consultant. That gig only lasted for one year during the 2011-12 NFL season. He has since been out of coaching and working at the University of Akron in a non-athletic role.
The coaching carousel that ensued after this past NFL regular season, though, has brought about many rumors surrounding Tressel and the various coaching vacancies throughout the league. Twitter erupted Jan. 3 — ironically the same day OSU was set to play Clemson in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl — proclaiming that Tressel was in line for an interview to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. In fact, Wikipedia went so far as to call him the next coach of the Browns Jan. 14. The rumors were quickly shot down, though.
What seemed to have gotten lost in all this speculation, though, is that Tressel could be a valuable asset to any NFL team looking to fill a void. He has done tremendous work with quarterbacks, has head coaching experience and, most importantly, can win games.
The Detroit Lions is the most recent organization to be associated with rumors of potentially hiring Tressel. This time, however, the destination seems like much more of a real possibility.
Last week, the Lions hired Jim Caldwell as their head coach. But Caldwell was the head coach of the Colts during Tressel’s time there, and the ties seem strong between the two. Joe Lombardi was brought on to be Caldwell’s offensive coordinator, but bringing on Tressel as quarterbacks coach could have a positive impact.
This past season, the Lions’ offense was sporadic and very prone to turning the ball over. A staple of Tressel’s teams was discipline and taking care of the football. Lions President Tom Lewand, a University of Michigan graduate, has said he would have no problem adding Tressel to the staff if it would make his team better. He even said that he would tattoo a buckeye on his forehead if Tressel were to help them win.
Looking back to his years at OSU, Tressel had a large part in the process of turning Troy Smith into a Heisman-winning quarterback and the mechanically challenged Terrelle Pryor into a two-time BCS bowl game-winner. Imagine what he could do with Matthew Stafford. I think a duo consisting of Tressel and Stafford would make beautiful music for years in Motown.
No matter where he goes, I’m sure controversy will follow. Even though Tressel lied to cover up the violations his former players committed, at least he has served his penalty.
It seems like Tressel going to the NFL is more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if’ at this point. Either way, I’m sure he will be successful in whatever venture he pursues.