They say staying active is a good way to counteract the effects of aging, but Dick LeBeau might be taking that to extremes.
The Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator turns 80 at the beginning of the 2017 NFL season, which will be his 59th season in the league as either a player or a coach.
LeBeau played defensive back for the Detroit Lions from 1959-1972 and was inducted in to the Hall of Fame in 2010. His career as a coach in the league has been just about as storied.
Since beginning his coaching career in 1973 as a special teams coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, he’s been a defensive coordinator for the Bengals, Steelers and now the Titans. He also did a two-year stint as a head coach with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2000-2002.
LeBeau says he never really entertained the idea of retiring, but at the end of the season he wasn’t sure if Titans head coach Mike Mularkey wanted him back.
“The only question in my mind was from the standpoint that somebody’s gotta want you to work,” he told Titansonline.com. “When Mike (Mularkey) said he wanted me to stay, there was no doubt.”
Next season will be LeBeau’s third with the team since joining the staff in 2015. And he believes with all the young talent on the roster, Tennessee is ripe for a breakthrough after finishing 9-7 this season.
“We made some good progress and there’s still a lot out there on the table to get done,” he said. “…We didn’t get where we wanted to get and we know we have work to do. But it was not the type of thing you want to run away from. I want to see if we can get this thing over the top.”