- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Ken Whisenhunt had interviewed with the Detroit Lions, was thought to be the team’s top candidate, and for a while looked like he would be their next head coach.
Then he ended up in Tennessee and the Lions went with Jim Caldwell after firing Jim Schwartz on Dec. 30, the day after the Lions ended the 2013 season at 7-9, missing the playoffs.
While Whisenhunt didn’t say much about his interactions with Detroit at the NFL combine on Thursday, he did indicate that potentially working with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was not a deterrent.
“Absolutely not,” Whisenhunt said.
Actually, he seemed confident in Detroit’s quarterback situation, and therefore Stafford, saying he liked what he saw. Whisenhunt interviewed with the Lions, Titans and Cleveland Browns prior to San Diego’s divisional playoff game against Denver.
He had been sought after by Detroit because of his work with quarterbacks, notably Philip Rivers in 2013 and Kurt Warner from his time as a head coach in Arizona.
“Once again, I have a lot of respect for Detroit. (General manager) Martin (Mayhew) and I were teammates, and it’s a good organization and I really liked what I had seen in the quarterback,” Whisenhunt said. “But, once again, you’ve got to understand, when there’s a lot going on in a short window, I feel very honored that I was given an opportunity to interview with the Lions. They are looking at different candidates as well, and you don’t have control of that situation.
“So, when it all comes down to the end, I had an opportunity with Tennessee and I feel good about that.”
14hDana Wakiji / Special to ESPN.com