American Football

Detroit Lions make more changes to strength and conditioning department


Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have two new assistant strength and conditioning coaches: Corey Smith and EJ Hibbler.

Back in March, the Detroit Lions announced their coaching staff for the 2023 season. But as we approach training camp, it looks like the team has made a few adjustments, particularly in the strength and conditioning department. Based on the team’s website, one assistant coach is no longer with the team, while two new faces join the department.

Morris Henry, formerly listed as the assistant strength and conditioning coach, is no longer listed on the website. Henry had been with the Lions since 2020. He is replaced on the Lions website with two new assistant coaches: Corey Smith and EJ Hibbler.

Smith has over a decades worth of experience in the field, starting off as an intern for Illinois State (2011) and Iowa (2012). He’s most recently been an assistant strength and conditioning coach for Texas (2020), Texas Tech (2021) and became the Associate AD for Strength and Conditioning for Abilene Christian University last year.

Hibbler, too, has a long history in the strength and conditioning departments, but for several different sports. Two interesting facts about Hibbler is that he worked with the Michigan State volleyball and women’s basketball teams, and he was with the Arkansas strength and conditioning team when Jerry Jacobs was playing there. Hence, this tweet:

The Lions have made some full-scale changes to their health and wellness department this offseason. In February, the Lions hired Brett Fisher to be their next Director of Player Health and Performance, and a couple months later, they hired Mike Sundeen to be the team’s head athletic trainer.

Last year, the NFLPA sent out a survey to every NFL player to develop report cards for each team. The Lions were average or below average in most categories as it pertains to their wellness department. They ranked 13th in the weight room (B+), 17th in strength coaches (A-), 24th in the training room (D+), and 22nd in training staff (B+).

With all of the new changes this offseason, hopefully the Lions will fare better in next year’s version of the report cards and—more importantly—they’ll have a healthier season on the field.

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