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Report: Steelers Expected to Retain Teryl Austin as Defensive Coordinator

His contract is up after two years as the Steelers defensive coordinator.



Steelers DC Teryl Austin
Pittsburgh Steelers defesive coordinator Teryl Austin during minicamp on June 9, 2022. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

While the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator coaching search is just getting ramped up, it doesn’t seem that the team will engage in a similar process at defensive coordinator.  Steelers DC Teryl Austin had his contract expire after the end of the season, but according to a report by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he is expected to return with a new contract in 2024.

Head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t specifically shut down changes to his defensive coaching staff during his post-season press conference, but was certainly less verbose than the was when talking about what might happen to his offensive staff.

“You know, I’m not going to speculate about staffing at this juncture,” he said when asked about the defensive coaches. “I just acknowledgement that things change this time of year. It’s just a component of our business at this level. And I’m sensitive in respective to it.”

A Sharon native and Pitt alum, Austin returned to his roots when he became the Steelers’ secondary coach and senior defensive assistant in 2019. He performed that role for three years under defensive coordinator Keith Butler, and when Butler retired after the 2021 season, Austin was promoted to defensive coordinator to replace him.

Pittsburgh Steelers DC Teryl Austin

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

It’s a role that he’s filled previously, with the Detroit Lions from 2014-17 and Cincinnati Bengals in 2018.

The results under Austin have been mixed. The Steelers finished his first season in 2022 10th in scoring defense, 14th in yards allowed, 20th in pass defense, 9th in run defense, and 14th in turnovers, and did all of that while reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt missed seven games with a torn pec.

In 2023, the Steelers improved in scoring defense, moving up to sixth in the NFL, but took a step back in other areas. They finished 21st in yards allowed, 17th in pass defense and 19th in run defense. They moved up to 10th in takeaways. Again, the Steelers’ defense was beset by key injuries, with Cam Heyward missing six games, Minkah Fitzpatrick missing seven games and Watt sitting out for the team’s playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills.

With Austin’s future uncertain, he was listed as a potential candidate for the Syracuse head coaching job earlier this season, but ending up not even taking an interview there.