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Published: Friday, 1/17/2014

Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell announces hiring of Austin, Sheridan as assistants

New Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, right, sits next to General Manager Martin Mayhew at Ford Field in Detroit earlier this week. New Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, right, sits next to General Manager Martin Mayhew at Ford Field in Detroit earlier this week.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell is turning to a familiar face to become his defensive coordinator.

The Lions have hired Teryl Austin, who spent the past three seasons as the defensive backs coach in Baltimore where Caldwell was an assistant before he left this week to take over in Detroit.

“Teryl, first of all, loves the game of football and has a real good understanding of both the back end of it, talking about in the secondary where he’s coached for a number of years, but then also the front of it as well,” Caldwell said. “He’s a very good teacher, an instructor, has a great passion for it. He’s demanding and that’s the reason why, obviously, I think he’ll be a great fit.”

The Lions also said Friday that they have hired Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan as linebackers coach.

Caldwell was hired by Baltimore two years ago to be their quarterbacks coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator late in the 2012 season. He replaces the fired Jim Schwartz in Detroit.

Before working with the Ravens, Austin was a defensive backs coach with the Arizona Cardinals (2007-09) and Seattle Seahawks (2003-05).

“The perimeter is where he spent a great majority of his time and he’s certainly going to be able to help,” Caldwell said. “But we’re also, obviously, going to be hiring a secondary coach at some point in time and, obviously, it will be someone that can also relate and do a great job of coaching.”

Sheridan ran the Buccaneers’ defense the last two seasons. He has also been a linebackers coach with the New York Giants (2005-08) and Miami Dolphins (2010-11) and was also the Giants’ defensive coordinator in 2009.

“Bill Sheridan is a guy of immense talent and experience,” Caldwell said. “He’s certainly coached linebackers, he’s worked in multiple systems and has a real clear understanding of defensive football.”

The Lions have retained position coaches John Bonamego (special teams), Terry Heffernan (offensive line assistant), Bobby Johnson (tight ends), Kris Kocurek (defensive line), Curtis Modkins (running backs), Evan Rothstein (special teams-quality control), Jeremiah Washburn (offensive line) and Jim Washburn (defensive line assistant).

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