Lions interview Mike Munchak for head coaching job

Former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak, who was fired last weekend when he refused to make changes on his staff, interviewed with the Lions on Wednesday.

Don McPeak/Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Munchak became the third coach to interview for the Detroit Lions’ job opening.

Next up is expected to be the so-called favorite, Ken Whisenhunt.

Munchak met Wednesday with the Lions, the team confirmed. The interview took place a couple days earlier than he reportedly was going to be in town.

It was also just four days after he got fired as the Tennessee Titans coach after refusing to make widespread changes on his staff.

He has been praised for his decision — and the integrity it showed — by choosing not to save himself at the expense of his assistant coaches.

"I did what you should do and what was right," Munchak told The Tennessean. "For me to maintain a job and a lot of guys lose their jobs on a plan I didn’t think I was right, I couldn’t do that."

Munchak, 53, one of the top offensive linemen ever to play the game, is also considered a top candidate for the vacancy at his alma mater, Penn State.

The other two coaches who have interviewed with Detroit so far are former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak (Tuesday) and Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell (last Friday).

The Lions, in search of a replacement after firing Jim Schwartz last week, are now expected to meet with Whisenhunt in the next couple of days, presumably in San Diego.

Whisenhunt, who took the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl a few years ago, is currently the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. He’s preparing this week for Sunday’s playoff game at Denver and, by NFL rules, can’t officially accept a head coaching job until after the Chargers’ season ends.

Jay Gruden, meanwhile, is reportedly expected to meet Friday with the Lions, according to the ABC television affiliate in Washington D.C.

Gruden, the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, is considered a leading candidate for the Washington Redskins’ coaching job. He interviewed with the Redskins Wednesday after meeting with the Tennessee Titans the previous day.

Gruden is the only one of the known candidates to interview – or scheduled to interview – with the Lions who does not have previous head-coaching experience in the NFL. He was a head coach in the Arena Football League.

EXTRA POINT

Defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, the No. 5 pick overall in last year’s NFL Draft, was named the winner of the Lions’ Mel Farr Rookie of the Year award.

Ansah, who made eight sacks, had stiff competition from offensive guard Larry Warford, a third-round pick who arguably was just as deserving, and undrafted tight end Joseph Fauria.