Former Lions defensive line coach John Teerlinck dies at 69
Longtime NFL assistant coach John Teerlinck, who worked with the Detroit Lions for two seasons in the 1990s, passed away this weekend. He was 69.
Teerlinck's legendary NFL coaching career spanned more than two decades and included three Super Bowl victories; two with Denver and another with Indianapolis. The defensive line specialist worked with and developed several star pass rushers during his career, including Chris Doleman, Neil Smith, Kevin Greene, John Randle, Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.
An All-American pass rusher for Western Illinois, Teerlinck was a fifth-round draft pick (No. 105 overall) in 1974. He played 20 games for the San Diego Chargers before his career was prematurely ended by a knee injury.
After coaching six seasons in the college ranks, he returned to the NFL as a defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1990. From there he went to work with the Rams, Vikings, Lions, Broncos and Colts. He spent the final 11 years of his career in Indianapolis working with and under former Lions coach Jim Caldwell.
During his two seasons with the Lions in 1995-96, Teerlinck got career-high sack totals out of two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Thomas, as well as defensive end Tracy Scroggins. Teerlinck also helped develop a young Robert Porcher, who had his first double-digit sack season under the coach's tutelage.
An annual award for the league's best defensive line coach is named after Teerlinck.