Trip to Arizona special for Lions' Teryl Austin

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is excited for his homecoming this weekend.

From 2007-09, Austin coached the defensive backs for the Arizona Cardinals, and his family moved back to the Phoenix area last year while he held the same position with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Lions (7-2) play the Cardinals (8-1) Sunday in a game for early bragging rights in the NFC.

"I get to see my wife and kids and sleep in my bed Saturday night," Austin said. "That's special."

Austin, who's in his first year in Detroit, said his family visits him in Detroit regularly, but he has fond memories of coaching in Arizona.

In 2008, Austin and the Cardinals played in the Super Bowl, his second time winning the NFC as a coach. He also coached the secondary for the Seattle Seahawks from 2003-06, and they made it to the Super Bowl in 2005. After being on the losing side his first two times, Austin won a Super Bowl with Ravens in 2013.

Austin coached under now-Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt, and the Cardinals won the NFC in their second season.

"When we went down there we got a team that was talented, but probably a little bit underachieving," Austin said. "And we were able to get it pieced together, and guys that were playing did a great job of buying into what we were talking about. It was really rewarding that we were able to go to a Super Bowl in our second year and do something that had never been done there.

"I think that's really the biggest memory I have, and what I learned is that if you get a bunch of guys and you can get them committed to the same thing, you can win. So, it was great. I thought it was great for the organization. It was good for me personally. You always feel satisfied when you have an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. You'd like to win them all, but you don't."

In Austin's first year in Detroit, the Lions rank first in the NFL in yards (283.4) and points (15.8) allowed per game.