John Teerlinck
Defensive Line

John Teerlinck enters his 10th season as defensive line coach of the Colts.  Teerlinck joined Indianapolis from Denver, where he served as pass rush specialist for five seasons.  Teerlinck (Indianapolis, Denver) is one of 23 NFL coaches to win a Super Bowl with more than one team.

John Teerlinck enters his 10th season as defensive line coach of the Colts.  Teerlinck joined Indianapolis from Denver, where he served as pass rush specialist for five seasons.  Teerlinck (Indianapolis, Denver) is one of 23 NFL coaches to win a Super Bowl with more than one team.  Teerlinck has coached in the NFL for the past 22 seasons, and this season will mark his 32nd season in coaching, his 26th in the professional ranks.  He has coached in 31 playoff games with five teams and with three Super Bowl champions (1997-98, Denver; 2006, Colts).

In 2010, DEs-Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis and DT-Fili Moala started 16 games, while DT-Dan Muir opened 14 outings.  The defensive line had 25 of the team’s 30 sacks, with Freeney (10) and Mathis (11) topping the club and earning a third consecutive Pro Bowl nomination as a tandem.  It marked the first time since 1970 a DE duo earned three straight bids (2, Clyde Simmons-Reggie White, Philadelphia 1991-92).  Freeney has six Pro Bowl bids, while Mathis has three.  Freeney ranks behind only Gino Marchetti (11) for the most Pro Bowl bids by a Colts defensive lineman.  Mathis (four) and Freeney (seven) have produced 11 of the 17 10+-sack seasons in club history.  Freeney (94) and Mathis (74) rank first and second in Colts career sacks, and they have combined for 168 sacks, 77 FF and 14 FR during their careers.  The 2010 season marked the fifth time they have topped 20 sacks as a tandem (26.5, 2004; 22.5, 2005; 22, 2008, 23, 2009; 21, 2010).  Mathis had 60 tackles and 19 QB pressures, while Freeney added 19 pressures and five forced fumbles.  

In 2009, the Colts ranked 8th in the NFL in scoring defense (19.2).  Freeney (13.5) was T3rd in NFL sacks, and he set a club record with sacks in nine consecutive games.  Freeney and Mathis (9.5) earned second consecutive Pro Bowl bids as a duo and combined for 43 of the club’s 83 pressures.  Six different linemen had sacks, and the club held six opponents under 100 rushing yards.  In 2008, Indianapolis ranked 11th in the NFL in total defense.  The line was led by Mathis (11.5 sacks, 16 pressures, 5 FF, 3 FR) and Freeney (10.5 sacks, 33 pressures, 4 FF), who both earned Pro Bowl bids, the second time in club history two ends were voted to the same Pro Bowl (1958, Gino Marchetti; Don Joyce).  The line produced the team’s 30 sacks.  The club ranked 6th against the pass, setting an NFL mark by allowing only six touchdown passes, the lowest 16-game total in league history.  Since 2002, the club has five top 10 NFL finishes in scoring defense (1st, 2007; 2nd, 2005; 5th, 2003; 7th, 2002; 7th, 2008).  In 2007, Indianapolis ranked 3rd in the NFL in total defense.  It marked the club’s highest defensive ranking since 1971 (1st) and was one of the club’s eleven top five NFL finishes since 1953.  The Colts yielded 279.7 yards per game, the lowest seasonal total since 1971 (203.7), and only the 8th seasonal average below 280.0 yards in franchise history.  Indianapolis ranked 1st in NFL scoring defense, its best showing since 2005 (2nd), and 262 points allowed marked the 2nd-fewest by the club in a 16-game season.  The Colts had 22 interceptions to rank T2nd in the NFL, and produced the best seasonal total since 1979 (23).  The club ranked 2nd in the NFL in turnover ratio (+18) and takeaways (37).  In 2006, Mathis (9.5) led the team in sacks.  The linemen had 42 of the club’s 46 sacks in 2005.  The club’s 91 sacks from 2004-05 led the NFL.  In 2005, six linemen (led by Mathis (11.5), Freeney (11) and Brock (6.5)) combined for the sack total, and 318 sack yards ranked 2nd in the NFL.  In 2004, the Colts’ 45 sacks were T3rd in the NFL, and 340 sack yards led the NFL.  In 2004, Freeney had a club seasonal-record 16 sacks and became the first Colts player to win the NFL sack title.

Freeney is the only Colts player with four consecutive double-digit sack seasons.  In 2004, Freeney teamed with Mathis (10.5) to form the NFL’s top seasonal duo (26.5).  In 2005, Freeney repeated as a Pro Bowl selection, becoming the first Colts defensive lineman with three consecutive Pro Bowl bids since DE-John Dutton (1975-77).  Freeney was named to the AP NFL All-Pro Team and the PFW/PFWA All-AFC and All-NFL Teams in 2004, 2005 and 2009.  In 2005 and 2009, he won NFL All-Pro honors from The Sporting News.

Denver led the AFC in sacks during Teerlinck’s tenure, and DT-Trevor Pryce was a Pro Bowl selection.  In 2004, Teerlinck was named the NFL Assistant Coach-of-the-Year by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.  He has seven former players who have coached NFL defensive lines (Carl Hairston, Daryl Sims, Keith Millard, Sam Clancy, Anthony Pleasant, Kevin Greene and Randy Melvin).  Teerlinck spent 1995-96 with Detroit as assistant head coach/defense.  The Lions posted 42 sacks in 1995 and led the NFC in sack yardage.  Teerlinck spent 1992-94 with Minnesota and worked under defensive coordinator Tony Dungy.  Three of four linemen he coached were named All-Pro.  In 1994, the Vikings led the NFL with 68.1 rushing yards allowed per game, the 4th-lowest total in NFL history.  The Vikings led the NFL in total defense in 1993 and finished 5th in 1994.  Teerlinck served 1991 with the Los Angeles Rams and 1989-90 with Cleveland.  Teerlinck coached two conference Defensive Players-of-the-Year (Michael Dean Perry, Cleveland, 1989; Chris Doleman, Minnesota, 1992).  He also developed John Randle from an undrafted rookie free agent into a consensus All-Pro choice (1993-94).  Randle was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.  Teerlinck presented Randle at the induction, becoming only the ninth assistant coach ever to present an inductee.  In the NFL’s modern era, 18 players have amassed 100 career sacks, and Teerlinck has tutored five of those players (Doleman, Randle, Neil Smith, Kevin Greene and Bubba Baker).  He has had 23 players make the Pro Bowl.  Teerlinck began his professional coaching career in 1983 under the late George Allen with the USFL’s Chicago Blitz (later the Arizona Wranglers).  The team led the USFL in defense and sacks in each of his three seasons.  Teerlinck’s players held nine of the 12 All-USFL defensive line spots during the league’s existence.  Teerlinck spent 1980-82 at Illinois.  Illinois had winning seasons in 1981 and 1982 and played in its first bowl game since the 1960s.  Teerlinck spent 1978-79 as defensive coordinator at Eastern Illinois.  In 1978, the Panthers won the Division II national title.  His first job in coaching was at Iowa Lakes Junior College in 1977.

Teerlinck was the 105th overall pick in the 1974 draft by San Diego.  He started two games at DE as a rookie, totaling 7.5 sacks, including three in one contest.  He started five of the first six games in 1975 before sustaining a knee injury that ended his career in 1977.  Teerlinck earned little All-America honors and was co-captain as a senior at Western Illinois.  He was the team’s defensive MVP after posting 122 tackles and 14 sacks in 1973.  He is a member of the Western Illinois Hall of Fame and still shares the school record for most sacks in a single game (four).

Teerlinck, a native of Rochester, N.Y., was named All-Chicago Catholic League at Fenwick High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Western Illinois and earned a master’s degree in education from Eastern Illinois.  Teerlinck was born on April 9, 1951 in Rochester, N.Y.  Teerlinck and his wife, Sue, have five children, Ann, Bill, Mark, Molly and Mary.


College: Western Illinois 1970-1973.

Playing Career: San DiegoChargers 1974-77.

Coaching Career: Iowa Lakes Junior College 1977; Eastern Illinois 1978-79; University of Illinois 1980-82; Chicago Blitz 1983-84; Arizona Wranglers 1985; Arizona Outlaws 1986; Cleveland Browns 1989-90; Los Angeles Rams 1991; Minnesota Vikings 1992-94; Detroit Lions 1995-96; Denver Broncos 1997-2001; Indianapolis Colts 2002-present.