Jim Caldwell hasn't been an NFL head coach since the 2017 season, and it sounds like he won't pursue that path again after taking a senior assistant position with the Carolina Panthers under Frank Reich.
"I'm not worried about the future or anything else," he told ESPN on Tuesday. "I don't plan on being a head coach from this point forward.
"When I didn't get a head-coaching job, I immediately sort of changed the plan in terms of what I was looking for next. I knew I was at the stage where I wanted to be back in the building somewhere. And so, I did have some opportunities to kind of look at, and I was happy when Frank called."
Caldwell, 68, has been a head coach twice in his career: first with the Indianapolis Colts from 2009 to 2011 and then with the Detroit Lions from 2014 to 2017. He was fired both times despite winning more games than he lost at either stop. Caldwell went 26-22, including two 10-win seasons, with the Colts before losing Peyton Manning for the 2011 season and going 2-14. After some time as a Baltimore Ravens assistant between stops, Caldwell went 36-28 with the Lions, including an 11-5 season in 2014.
Since then, Caldwell has interviewed for six head-coaching jobs, including the Panthers position that eventually went to Reich. Caldwell's plight is another unfortunate example of a qualified minority head-coaching candidate missing out on top NFL jobs. New Washington Commanders and former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is another example.
The Houston Texans were the only team to hire a minority head coach this offseason — DeMeco Ryans — making them only the fifth team in the league with a minority head coach.
"When you look at the numbers, they speak for themselves," Caldwell said of minority head-coaching hires. "There's been volumes and volumes of articles written and reporting on television about the lack of diversity in terms of the head-coaching position. But there's been a lot of things in the background to try to improve that."