Allen Park — For three consecutive offseasons, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has been a head-coaching candidate, interviewing for nearly 10 vacancies. Each time he’s been passed over.
A 27-year coaching veteran, Austin is just 52 years old. If his defenses perform well going forward, there’s little reason to believe he won’t receive additional opportunities. But after going through the process so many times, he claims he’s content if he never gets the chance to lead his own team.
“I can’t control it,” Austin said. “If it happens, it happens. If not, I’m happy to be here. My goal is to help us win games, get ourselves in the playoff and hopefully win some playoff games and give us a chance. That other stuff I can’t control, so it doesn’t bother me.”
In 2014, his first season with the Lions, the team finished No. 2 in total defense and scoring. The next year, following the loss of Ndamukong Suh in free agency, and DeAndre Levy to injury, the unit got off to a rocky start, but closed strong, finishing in the middle of the pack.
Last year, despite not having a Pro Bowl player on the roster, and Levy and star defensive end Ziggy Ansah hampered by injuries much of the season, Austin’s group allowed 22.4 points per game, good for 13th in the league.