Teryl Austin Has Big Impact On Sutton, Witherspoon

The tea leaves in Pittsburgh suggest Keith Butler will retire this offseason, opening up the door for someone else to take over at defensive coordinator. The Steelers often hire within the organization for such hirings, and it seems they’ll do that if/when Butler does retire.

Secondary coach Teryl Austin has been the name most connected to replacing Butler. When Butler was unavailable in Week 18 due to COVID-19 issues, Austin stepped in and filled those duties. Austin’s played an integral role in the 2021 Steelers, playing a part in the progression of defensive backs like Terrell Edmunds and rookie Tre Norwood. Cameron Sutton discussed what makes Austin such an effective coach for the secondary.

“A passionate leader,” Sutton said on Thursday via the team’s site. “Just a guy who’s really a player’s coach. It’s always easier when you’re able to relate and able to talk to people on a level that goes beyond just defining a role. He’s able to get through with every individual, whether it’s with DBs or any other guy around the team.”

Such rave reviews make it obvious as to why Austin’s earned his way through the Steelers’ ranks and potentially to defensive coordinator. Players from throughout the team have reiterated similar praises for Austin. Cornerback Akhello Witherspoon spent his first season in Pittsburgh in 2021, and found Austin to be a great coach, as well.

“I think he understands the game from all levels and so that’s good for a DB,” Witherspoon said via “When you have a coach that can inform you about the run game and understand where the linebackers are gonna be, I think it’s important at the cornerback position. He fosters a great environment for all of us to be ourselves and we just come to work excited.”

While the tea leaves seem to point to a Keith Butler retirement, so does the hiring of Teryl Austin as the new DC. Players have praised his coaching skills and attitude throughout the week, with Witherspoon and Sutton being the latest.

Austin seemed to do a good job with the secondary this season, as a lot of the guys made improvements from last season. Don’t be surprised if he’s announced as the Steelers’ DC here in the near future.

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