Lions D-coordinator Teryl Austin departs for Bengals

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Teryl Austin has been hired by the Cincinnati Bengals as their new defensive coordinator.

The Detroit Lions will not only be hiring a new head coach in the coming weeks, but also a new defensive coordinator.

The Cincinnati Bengals have hired Teryl Austin as its new defensive coordinator, a position recently vacated by Paul Guenther. Austin interviewed with the Bengals last week.

According to the NFL Network, the Oakland Raiders also made a late push to hire Austin, offering him a job coaching the team’s defensive backs with the added title of assistant head coach.

Austin spent four seasons with the Lions. His most successful season was his first, taking a defense headed by Ndamukong Suh and DeAndre Levy and parlaying that star power into one of the NFL’s most dominant units. That success earned Austin head coaching buzz and he’s interviewed for a number of positions over the past three years, including the Lions’ current opening.

Detroit fired coach Jim Caldwell after the 2017 season, but retained all but one of the team’s assistants. With four of the five external candidates to replace Caldwell having a defensive background, the writing was on the wall for Austin. With that in mind, he was permitted to explore other opportunities, with some caveats.

According to ESPN, the Green Bay Packers reportedly sought to interview Austin for their defensive coordinator opening, but the Lions rejected the division rival’s request.

In Cincinnati, Austin will inherit the NFL’s 18th-ranked defense, but also one of the league’s best pass rushes, led by six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins. The team finished tied for 11th in sacks and was third in pressure generated.

"It's an honor to join the Bengals' organization," Austin said in a statement released by the team. "I look forward to leading an aggressive group of young men and helping them and the team achieve our goals."