Teryl Austin on Suh: 'I'm planning on him being back'


The chorus of optimism emanating from Detroit regarding the Lions' ability to retain soon-to-be free agent Ndamukong Suh added another voice.

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told the team's official website this week he hasn't even considered a scenario in which he wouldn't be coaching the defensive tackle next season.

"It hasn't crossed my mind," Austin said. "I'm planning on him being back."

Austin's defense revolved around Suh's ability to take on multiple lineman to free up other playmakers. The D-coordinator acknowledged taking Suh out of the Lions' defense would create a massive hole.

"I think anytime you have a great player, he impacts your defense in a positive way," Austin said. "I mean that's what he is. You can't get around it. You can sugar coat it or say whatever you want, but he's a great player. He changes the game."

Beginning Monday the Lions could place the franchise tag on Suh at the cost of a colossal $26.7 million. The salary cap ramifications seem to suggest that option is untenable, but no one in Detroit has ruled it out.

Barring a tag scenario the Lions will attempt to top any offer Suh receives when he hits the open market, if they truly want to retain the superstar.

The optimism from the team about their chances of re-signing Suh could suggest they'll get a deal done at some point. The glass-is-empty faction will, however, point out the enthusiasm could also be a preemptive precursor to the Lions' brass telling their fan base they did everything they could to retain their All-Pro if he does in fact sign elsewhere.

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