A sought-after name on the HC interview circuit in recent offseasons, Teryl Austin may be backing off those pursuits for the time being.
While he interviewed for the Lions’ HC job, the Bengals are negotiating with Austin to become their next defensive coordinator, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding the deal is not yet finalized but that could be imminent.
The Bengals interviewed Austin on Friday; he’s the only candidate the franchise has interviewed thus far in the process. The Lions blocked Austin from interviewing with the Packers but did not stand in the way of their DC speaking with Cincinnati representatives.
The 52-year-old assistant’s been the Lions’ DC for the past four seasons. Prior to that, he spent three seasons in command of the Ravens’ secondary. Austin, who also oversaw the Seahawks’ and Cardinals’ secondaries during the 2000s, conducted a whopping 12 HC interviews over the past three offseasons. He spoke with the Rams and Chargers last season only to see those teams move in different directions.
Austin’s Lions defenses have not been top-tier units over the past three seasons. Statistically, they topped out at No. 18 in 2015 and ’16 in total defense before dropping to 27th in that category this season. In 2014, though, the Lions finished second in total defense to put Austin on the HC map.
The Bengals had hoped to keep Paul Guenther in charge of their defense, but he plans to join Jon Gruden’s staff in Oakland. Cincinnati also sought Bears DC Vic Fangio, but it appears Bengals brass is ready to hire Austin.
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