Lions’ Amon-Ra St. Brown says returning offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has ‘unfinished business’

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Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson informed the Seahawks and Commanders he would no longer pursue head coaching opportunities this year. 

Johnson’s decision to withdraw his name from head coaching consideration came as a surprise because he was one of the most sought-after candidates this hiring cycle. 

According to Lions star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, Johnson’s choice to stay put centered on “unfinished business” in Detroit.

During his “St. Brown Brothers” podcast, the wideout said he texted quarterback Jared Goff after he heard directly from Johnson that he would return to the Lions to take another shot at a Super Bowl run.


Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Detroit Lions celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter of a game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium Dec. 24, 2023, in Minneapolis.  (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

“I’m like, ‘So what’s up with you, you did an interview. Like, are you leaving?'” St. Brown said on the podcast. “He’s like, ‘You know what, I’m on my way to the facility right now.’ He said he couldn’t sleep last night. He was thinking about it, and he said, ‘There’s unfinished business.’ He wants to stay.”


In addition to the Commanders and Seahawks, Johnson reportedly drew interest from the Falcons, Panthers and Chargers.

On Wednesday, the Commanders became the lone team with an opening when Seattle reportedly offered Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald its head coaching job.

Ben Johnson stands on the sideline during a Lions game

Ben Johnson, offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field Sept. 24, 2023, in Detroit.  (Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Johnson recently finished his second season as the Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator. The 37-year-old assistant coach was the architect of one of the best offenses in the NFL in 2023. 

The Lions have averaged the fourth most points per game since Johnson was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2022. He served as the team’s pass game coordinator in 2021. Detroit’s 387.4 yards per game were the best in the league.

Ben Johnson and Jared Goff talk on the sideline

Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Jared Goff (16) of the Detroit Lions speak on the field prior to a game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field Nov. 23, 2023, in Detroit.  (Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Rookies Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta thrived in their first season in Johnson’s offense. Both players received Rookie of the Year consideration. Johnson successfully deployed creative plays throughout the season, and four Lions players finished the year with 500 or more yards from scrimmage.


Sources also told ESPN’s Adam Schefter Johnson’s salary expectations were potentially a sticking point for some teams that interviewed him.

St. Brown added that Johnson had a strong desire to stay with the Lions.

“He said his heart is in Detroit, he wants to stay,” St. Brown said. “So, he told me that while he was on his way to the facility.”

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