Teryl Austin knew he wouldn’t be Lions next head coach

Former Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has moved on from the Motor City and now holds that title with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Beforehand, however, he interviewed for the vacant head coaching position with the Lions. It seemed to be merely a formality, however, as he wasn’t expected to land that particular gig. Austin himself wasn’t exactly expecting to be named Jim Caldwell’s successor, he said as much during his introductory news conference with the Bengals.

“I interviewed in Detroit, but it probably wasn’t going to happen because of what happened to us as a staff,” he explained. 

Whether or not that his Lions interview was conducted to satisfy the Rooney Rule (having to interview at least one minority candidate), Austin had had stated in 2016 that at least two of the interviews with other teams during his time in Detroit were indeed conducted to satisfy that rule, saying his comments were:

“how I felt about that particular year, … and I thought at the time there were some interviews that weren’t — I didn’t put my best foot forward, how’s that? Best way to stay it.”


“Sometimes you can tell when things are good, and some of those interviews, it wasn’t cause of the Rooney Rule (that I didn’t get the job), it was cause I didn’t do very well,” Austin said. ‘But other times you could tell that it was just, ‘Hey, we’re going to check this box and we’re going to move on. But I think moving forward, that if I have another opportunity, and if things work out that … I deserve to get one, I’ll get one. If not, I’ll move on, I’ll coach the guys the best way I can and go from there.”

The Lions indeed satisfied the rule, not only with Austin but with the interviewing of Green Bay’s Winston Moss. Detroit has also interviewed their offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

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