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Lions add Jim O'Neil, Deshea Townsend and Terrell Williams to coaching staff

Allen Park, Mich. – The Detroit Lions announced today the following additions to the coaching staff. Contract terms were not disclosed.

Jim O'Neil - Defensive Assistant

Most recently serving as the defensive coordinator at Northwestern (2021-22), O'Neil joins the Lions for his 12th season as an NFL coach after previously working for the Las Vegas Raiders (2019-20 – defensive backs; 2018 – senior defensive assistant), San Francisco 49ers (2016 – defensive coordinator), Cleveland Browns (2014-15 – defensive coordinator), Buffalo Bills (2013 – linebackers) and New York Jets (2010-12 – assistant defensive backs; 2009 – defensive quality control/defensive backs).

Prior to entering the NFL coaching ranks, O'Neil spent eight seasons coaching in the NCAA, working at Eastern Michigan (2006-08 – safeties/recruiting coordinator), Towson (2005 – defensive coordinator/defensive backs), Northwestern (2003-04 – graduate assistant), Pennsylvania (2002 – assistant offensive line) and SUNY Albany (2001 – assistant offensive line/tight ends).

Deshea Townsend - Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs

Townsend enters his 10th season as an NFL coach after most recently spending two seasons (2022-23) as the passing game coordinator/cornerbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also served as the secondary coach for the Chicago Bears from 2019-21, assistant defensive backs coach for the New York Giants in 2018, defensive backs coach for the Tennessee Titans from 2016-17 and assistant defensive backs coach for the Arizona Cardinals from 2011-12. He also worked in the college ranks as the cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State from 2013-15.

Prior to embarking on his coaching career, Townsend split 13 seasons as a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1998-2009) and Indianapolis Colts (2010). Appearing in 191-career games (80 starts), he totaled 428 tackles, 116 pass defenses, 21 interceptions, 15.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and three interceptions returned for touchdowns. He helped the Steelers record victories in Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII.

Terrell Williams - Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line

Williams joins the Lions for his 27th season in coaching and his 13th year in the NFL after most recently spending the last six seasons with the Tennessee Titans (2023 – assistant head coach/defensive line; 2018-22 – defensive line). Under his tutelage, the Titans led the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (76.9) in 2022 and allowed the lowest rushing average (4.00) and fourth-fewest rushing yards (10,044) in the NFL during that span. He also helped DL Jeffery Simmons earn two Second-Team AP All-Pro selections and earn two trips to the Pro Bowl. Prior to joining the Titans, Williams served as the defensive line coach for the Miami Dolphins (2015-17) and Oakland Raiders (2012-14).

Before joining the NFL coaching ranks, Williams worked as the defensive line coach at Texas A&M (2010-11), Purdue (2006-09), Akron (2004-05), Youngstown State (2002-03), North Carolina A&T (1999-2001) and Fort Scott Community College (1998). He served as Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Brad Holmes' position coach at North Carolina A&T for his three seasons at the school.

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