Report: Cardinals TEs coach Steve Heiden expected to join Lions

Jan 30, 2023, 10:24 AM | Updated: 10:25 am

Arizona Cardinals tight ends coach Steve Heiden talks to his pass catchers during rookie minicamp F...

Arizona Cardinals tight ends coach Steve Heiden talks to his pass catchers during rookie minicamp Friday, May 14, 2021, in Tempe, Ariz. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Arizona Cardinals tight ends coach Steve Heiden is expected to join the Detroit Lions in the same role, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

Heiden has been Arizona’s tight ends coach since 2019, but now looks elsewhere after the firing of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and amid the Cardinals’ head-coaching search.

He got his start with Arizona in 2013 as an assistant special teams and tight ends coach before moving to assistant offensive line coach in 2018. He served under Bruce Arians, Steve Wilks and Kingsbury and was the longest-tenured Cardinals assistant.

In addition to manning the TE room this season, Heiden also helped lead the team’s running game in the back half of the year after OL coach and run game coordinator Sean Kugler was dismissed in November.

With Heiden and assistant Brian Natkin at the helm, the run game took a more physical tone behind James Conner.

Heiden marks the second Cardinals assistant linked to another team following Kingsbury’s firing a day after the season ended.

Cardinals wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson was reportedly a candidate for the New England Patriots’ OC job, though they opted for Bill O’Brien.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, on the other hand, is among the crop of head-coaching candidates the Cardinals have met with this offseason.

He joins former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, Denver Broncos DC Ejiro Evero, Lions DC Aaron Glenn, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive assistant Brian Flores and Cincinnati Bengals coordinators Lou Anarumo and Brian Callahan as the candidates still available for the job.

Before his coaching days, Heiden played 11 seasons in the NFL between the San Diego Chargers (1999-2001) and Cleveland Browns (2002-09).

In 148 games played (83 starts), the former tight end reeled in 1,689 yards and 14 touchdowns on 201 catches (303 targets).

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