Jim Schwartz Discusses His Return To Detroit

Plus: Why the Eagles' defensive coordinator may call into Dancing With the Stars.

Jim Schwartz. (Jeff Fusco)

Jim Schwartz. (Jeff Fusco)

Jim Schwartz has never watched Dancing With the Stars before, but because of the close relationships he built with his players as the Lions head coach, he may call in one of these days to vote for Calvin Johnson.

Those relationships he developed, Schwartz says, is why he doesn’t look at his return to Detroit on Sunday as a chance to exact revenge.

“You guys would probably be surprised how much I root for the Lions. As long as it’s not in direct conflict with the Eagles, I want those guys to win every week,” Schwartz said. “I got too much blood and sweat in that building, and there’s a lot of guys there that mean an awful lot to me. Start with [Matthew] Stafford and [Brandon] Pettigrew and [DeAndre] Levy — those guys were in my first draft class. I want those guys to succeed.

“You have relationships that just don’t go away when you leave or a player leaves. Those guys have had my back when I coached there, and I’ve had their back and I’m sure that will continue. Not this Sunday, though.”

Schwartz spent five seasons as the Lions’ head coach, compiling a 29-52 record. Three seasons after Detroit finished 0-16, however, Schwartz took the team to the playoffs after winning 10 games. Schwartz has already played at Ford Field twice since being fired in 2013, both times coming in 2014 when he was the Bills defensive coordinator. Buffalo traveled to Detroit during Week 5 of that season, before going back in Week 12 to play the Jets after a snow storm changed the venue of the game.

Schwartz has also spent a lot of personal time in the city with his family.

“I visit there a lot of times in the offseason. I don’t have very many friends, but my wife has a lot of friends,” Schwartz said with a laugh. “I’ve certainly enjoyed my time there and it will be part of our family’s life, not just my life. You look back and I think you can take a couple of years and you can appreciate the good times maybe a little bit more than when you’re in the middle of things.”