Before the first Divisional Round game was even complete, reports arose that the Steelers already had their plan in place to replace Butler as defensive coordinator. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the Steelers are expected to promote Senior Defensive Assistant/Secondary coach Teryl Austin to defensive coordinator.
Steelers are expected to promote senior defensive assistant and secondary coach Teryl Austin to defensive coordinator post vacated by Keith Butler retirement, according to a league source @PFN365— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 22, 2022
Additionally, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers have informed Austin he would be in line to be Butler’s successor.
The Steelers have indicated to senior defensive assistant/secondary coach Teryl Austin he would be in line to succeed Keith Butler, but no determination has been made at this point.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 23, 2022
Whether or not the Steelers choose to interview other candidates remains to be seen, and a decision about the position will likely be officially announced sooner than later. Even if Austin is the choice for defensive coordinator, the Steelers would still have an opening for Butler‘s other position on the team as outside linebackers’ coach.
Teryl Austin began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Penn State in 1991. Making a jump to the NFL in 2003, Austin was the Seattle Seahawks defensive backs coach for four seasons before moving to the Arizona Cardinals for an additional three seasons. Austin went back to the college ranks to be the defensive coordinator of the Florida Gators in 2010, but returned to the NFL the following year to coach the Baltimore Ravens secondary from 2011 to 2013. Austin got his first NFL coordinator job in 2014 with the Detroit Lions where he spent four seasons. After one year as the defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018, Austin came to Pittsburgh as the Senior Defensive Assistant/Secondary coach.
If Austin ends up being the Steelers choice of defensive coordinator, exactly how much say he has in the Steelers defensive scheme and play calling will be up for debate. Even under Keith Butler, head coach Mike Tomlin had his fingerprints all over the defense and has been understood to be the person behind making the play calls in-game.
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