Longtime NFL assistant John Teerlinck dies at 69

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The Colts announced the death of longtime defensive line coach John Teerlinck on Sunday night.

Teerlinck, who was 69 at the time of his death, finished his time as an NFL assistant by coaching the defensive line in Indianapolis from 2002 to 2012. Teerlinck coached stars like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis during his time with the Colts and Mathis called Teerlinck the best pass rushing coach of all time in a Twitter post after Teerlinck’s death.

Teerlinck played defensive line at Western Illinois and was a 1974 fifth-round pick of the Chargers. He appeared in 20 games over two seasons and then moved into coaching on the college level.

He jumped to the NFL as the defensive line coach with the Browns in 1989 and went on to hold the same role with the Rams, Vikings, Lions and Broncos before joining the Colts. He coached Hall of Famers Chris Doleman and John Randle while with the Vikings and Randle chose Teerlinck to present him at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Our condolences go out to Teerlinck’s family and friends on their loss.

7 responses to “Longtime NFL assistant John Teerlinck dies at 69

  1. Wow, I’m very sorry to see this. Teerlinck was an outstanding DL coach. RIP.

  2. Being chosen by Randle for his HOF induction speaks volumes for how effective this coach must’ve been. I wonder how many other lower-tiered coaches were influenced by his personal “coaching tree?” You hear a lot about head coaching “trees,” and he must’ve certainly had something worth emulating.

  3. He had an attacking upfield style. I loved him with the Vikings, RIP John and my condolences to the family. He was truely one of the great position coaches of all time.

  4. Fiery guy! I remember him as an intern. We had to have the golf carts there and ready

  5. There are some great DL coaches in NFL history. Buddy Ryan coached the Purple People Eaters and later designed the greatest defense in NFL history (4-6). George Perles coached the Steel Curtain to four Super Bowls. John Teerlinck belongs in the GOAT category. From Wikipedia, “with four teams, Teerlinck either set the record or came in second in total sacks, historically (Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts). In his tenure, Teerlinck coached seven players (Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, John Randle, Bubba Baker, Neil Smith, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis) to 100 career sacks, the ultimate benchmark for a defensive lineman.”

    RIP John and condolences to your family.

  6. That’s just a shame — he was a great coach, full of personality, and had some innovative techniques during his viking coaching days. I remember pictures of him painting balls green to make the D-line defenders pay more attention to the ball pre-snap.

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