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Longtime Colts DL coach John Teerlinck dies at 69

Longtime Indianapolis Colts defensive line coach John Teerlinck has died. He was 69.

The Colts said Teerlinck died on Sunday. His cause of death was not disclosed.

“Rest In Peace, John Teerlinck,” Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted. “One of our sport’s all-time greatest assistant coaches. And a Horseshoe guy, through-and-through.”

Teerlinck was a fifth-round pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 1974 NFL Draft but spent just two seasons in the league.

He was hired to coach at Iowa Lakes Community College in 1977. He also had stops at Eastern Illinois and Illinois before he was hired as the Cleveland Browns’ defensive line coach in 1989.

Teerlinck went on to coach up defensive linemen for the Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos before his tenure with the Colts from 2002 through 2012. He coached several star pass rushers, including Bubba Baker, Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, John Randle, Neil Smith, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Those seven players each had at least 100 sacks in their careers.

Teerlinck was a part of three Super Bowl teams. He also presented Randle at his 2010 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He was a man of true legend,” Freeney told “He was an innovator and his teachings were way ahead of his time. He taught me so much and I definitely would not have had the career I had if it wasn’t for him.

“I will miss him. Rest in peace my friend. The greatest D-line coach of all-time!”


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