New Steelers senior defensive assistant/secondary coach Teryl Austin must have felt like he had died and went to Valhalla. He had been unceremoniously dismissed from his defensive coordinator duties with the Cincinnati Bengals, a pit of misery franchise run by a clueless owner, powerless head coach, and delusional fan base. Then he lands an interview with the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the cornerstone franchises in the NFL. The interview goes great, Austin is offered the job, but there is just one catch.
Part of Teryl Austin's job description is to be, for lack of a better word, a narc. That is the bad news. The good news is it isn't a top secret mission seeing how everybody on the team and coaching staff are already more than aware.
What's the big deal if all his team apparel has that one special button that is actually a spy camera and the pen to his tablet is really a recording device, just like a cop's body camera, they are only required to protect the innocent.
Austin's main job description is to observe the day to day operations and interactions in and around the Steelers complex and report back to Mr. Rooney and Steelers GM Kevin Colbert. Ben Roethlisberger, as acting owner, will sit in on these meetings to go over all the information gathered by Coach Austin.
Teryl's job description calls for other high profile responsibilities beyond intel gathering. First off, he has been instructed to assist Coach Tomlin with all challenge decisions. More like prevent Mike from ever throwing the red flag unless given approval from upstairs. The use of force has been granted if Austin deems it necessary.
Next order of business is to assist Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler with weekly game plans and daily tasks. Little things like making sure Butler is aware of that week's opponent, who is and isn't on their active roster, and answer questions that sometimes can be confusing for Coach Butler. Like why in-game defensive adjustments are sometimes required and can be helpful, and why it is seldom a good idea to consistently attempt to cover a top wideout with your coverage challenged inside linebackers.
As if that wasn't enough, Austin is supposed to protect special teams coach Danny Smith from himself. This requires Austin to only supply Smith with decaf on any coffee runs, and to hide any and all energy drinks from Coach Smith. He must make sure that Smith has completely removed the wrappers from the approximately ten pieces of Bazooka bubble gum that Smith chews during each practice or game, seeing how it could be a choking hazard. If choking does occur then Austin is required to administer the Heimlich maneuver. He must also shield Coach Smith from any debris that might inadvertently come flying out of the stands. He is even supposed to protect any innocent team personnel on the sidelines from possibly being hit by a shanked Jordan Berry punt.
Lastly Teryl is supposed to listen in and try to decipher exactly what Coach Tom Bradley has been teaching Artie Burns and the rest of the Steelers secondary.
All of the information gathered will be crucial by the end of the year as the Steelers decide which coaches will stay and which ones will be shown the door, especially if they have another disappointing season.
Teryl Austin does have a lot on his plate, but he feels certain he is the right man for the job. It has to be better than being stuck in Cincinnati.