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Teryl Austin to run Lions' defense

New Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell has made his first big hire with the club.

Caldwell tabbed former Baltimore defensive backs coach Teryl Austin, who spent three seasons with the Ravens, as his defensive coordinator.

Austin is a first-time NFL defensive coordinator, but he coordinated Florida's defense in 2010. He replaces Gunther Cunningham, the former Kansas City head coach and the Lions' defensive coordinator the past five seasons.

Austin is a long-time defensive backs coach and worked with the secondaries at Michigan and Syracuse earlier in his career.

"He was always the type of coach that challenged you and get you better in terms of what you were able to do," said Cato June, a former NFL player who played for Austin at Michigan. "'You have your set of goals and this little thing, but hey, I want you to do more than you think you can do and I think that makes you better.' Creating competition in the DB room always made us better players."

Austin is one of two new coaches the Lions have hired, along with linebackers coach Bill Sheridan, who was Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator the past two seasons.

The Lions also kept seven of their assistants, including highly regarded offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn and defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.