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Former Broncos DL coach John Teerlinck has passed away

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Former Denver Broncos defensive line coach John Terrlinck has passed away at the age of 69.

Bills v Broncos

John Teerlinck, retired NFL defensive line coach for the Browns, Rams, Vikings, Lions, Broncos, and Colts, has passed away at age 69.

Dedicated position group coaches often go relatively unnoticed by fans, at least in comparison to their impact on the game. But with Teerlinck’s passing, much like Don Shula’s recent passing, the NFL has lost one of the best to ever do it. “It”, in this case, being coaching defensive linemen to ruin opposing quarterbacks’ days.

Teerlinck excelled at that over the course of his 33 year career as an NFL defensive line coach. In that time he guided at least six players to the 100 career sacks mark:

  • Kevin Greene: 160.0 career sacks (3rd all-time) (HoF)
  • Chris Doleman: 150.5 (5th) (HoF)
  • John Randle: 137.5 (T-10th) (HoF)
  • Dwight Freeney: 125.5 (18th)
  • Robert Mathis: 123.0 (19th)
  • Neil Smith: 104.5 (T-28th)

Teerlinck has about as strong a connection to the Hall of Fame as you’ll find among NFL assistant coaches. Freeney and Mathis both may very well join Greene, Doleman, & Randle in the Hall of Fame someday, and Randle even asked Teerlinck to be his presenter when he was inducted into the Hall back in 2010. Not only that, he was so well thought of that the NFL named its defensive line coach of the year award after him: the Teerlinck Award.

In addition to coaching great players, Teerlinck was part of some great teams. His long tenure in Indy (2001-2012) included Peyton Manning & the Colts’ Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XLI. But prior to his time with the Colts, Teerlinck spent five years coaching the Broncos’ defensive linemen. He joined Denver as part of the turnover in the wake of the disheartening loss to the Jaguars in the 1996 Divisional Round, and went on to be part of both the Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII winning teams.

Rest in peace, John Teerlinck. Thank you for everything you contributed to football.