Robert Saleh appears to be a popular man in his home state, as a group of Michigan legislators have sent a letter to Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp imploring the organization to hire the 49ers' defensive coordinator as the Lions' next head coach.
"We understand the difficulty of these upcoming decisions," the letter reads (h/t ESPN's Michael Rothstein). "As passionate and loyal Lions fans, we are asking you to hire Robert Saleh as the head coach of our team. He is the best candidate for the job and measures as such across every metric. A head coach like Robert can bring tremendous energy and heart to the franchise and would help us reach peaks that have seemed unobtainable for so long. We have an exceptional opportunity here and we trust you to make the best decision.
"To turn the corner and become a winning franchise, these next hiring decisions are critical. We hope that you will consider Robert Saleh as the head coach, not only for us, but for everyone across the loyal fanbase of our beloved Detroit Lions."
Rep. Abdullah Hammoud and his staff authored the letter advocating for Saleh, a native of Dearborn, Mich. who played his college football at Northern Michigan, and made coaching stops at Michigan State and Central Michigan.
"A lot of us in the Legislature love the Lions and we decided why not throw out a helping hand," Hammoud told ESPN. "And kind of guide them kind of toward the coach that we'd like to see come home, who is a Michigan man."
Detroit fired Matt Patricia after a 13-29-1 record in two-plus seasons, also removing general manager Bob Quinn. Patricia comes from a defensive background like Saleh, and some have pondered whether the failings of Patricia will lead the Lions to seek an offensive mind to take over.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan understands that with success comes coaches being sought after, but definitely appreciates having a mind like Saleh's on his staff.
"I'm always concerned," Shanahan said of potentially losing Saleh to another head-coaching job following the win over the Rams. "You never want to lose Saleh. I never want to lose any of our coaches, to tell you the truth. I thought he deserved one last year, so, whether this game happened or not, it's a matter of time before he becomes one. I keep telling him, 'Don't get mad at me,' because I know he's going to be one eventually. I hope he stays here as long as possible. He needs to be in no rush. So hopefully people don't figure it out, and he stays here for a little bit."
Clearly Saleh has some supporters in high places within his home state, and perhaps the 41-year-old coming back to the Great Lakes State as the Lions' head coach could re-invigorate Detroit's fan base.