Teryl Austin was the last defensive coordinator during the Marvin Lewis era for the Cincinnati Bengals. And while he didn’t last long in Cincinnati, there was speculation that he could’ve been a head coach for his previous employer.
Austin was considered an option for the Detroit Lions’ head coach vacancy during the 2018 offseason. He had been Detroit’s defensive coordinator the previous four seasons and was recognized as a potential in-house candidate.
The Lions ended up hiring Matt Patricia over Austin, and according to Austin’s agent at the time, Eric Metz, Austin was never a serious candidate for the job, which coincides with recent allegations Brian Flores has filed against the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, and the NFL as a whole.
“I said the Lions interview was a ‘sham’ interview years ago,” Metz told ESPN. “I guess it’s being brought up again because of the Flores lawsuit. I’m not saying ‘racism’ as much as the Rooney Rule, though well-intentioned, is not working in its current form. Amendments need to be made. Perhaps giving a team hiring a minority HC an extra first round pick. Regardless, it’s time for change.”
Austin presumably never had a shot to get the Lions’ job and ended up joining Lewis’ final staff for half a season before he was let go. He’s since been with the Pittsburgh Steelers and figures to be in line to take over as their defensive coordinator.
While there has been progress in terms of minority candidates landing general manager positions, six of the nine head coaching jobs this hiring cycle have been filled; all of them by White coaches. Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin remains as the only Black head coach in the NFL.
Austin may not have panned out in Cincinnati, but that doesn’t make what Detroit allegedly did right. It’s another damning piece of evidence against the ineffectiveness of the current Rooney Rule.