Technically, Deshea Townsend still hasn’t retired. Still, don’t expect him to return to the playing field. That’s pretty much over.
Townsend now sits in a side office among the Cardinals’ coaches, the new assistant defensive backs coach hired just a little more than three months from his final NFL play, in a game when he knocked down a pass against the Eagles Nov. 7 playing for the Colts. Released from the roster a couple of days later, Townsend had already begun to mull his athletic mortality before the season even started (he didn’t sign as a free agent with Indianapolis until the beginning of August).
“I haven’t even put my papers in for retirement,” Townsend said, taking a break from some paperwork grading out the players he now must oversee. “It’s pretty neat to have the option, even before you are done. I was at a point, even last year when I was a free agent, I thought, ‘If someone calls, good, if they don’t, they don’t. I’ll ride off into the sunset.’ It’s not hard for me to walk away … although I’m sure when we get started I’m going to want to get out there and be in the mix.”
Townsend still wasn’t 100 percent he was done playing (he had a 13-year career at defensive back), but felt the decision was made for him. As happens with many possible coaching changes, Townsend was on a short list and got a phone call from Horton asking if he was ready to coach if Horton ended up getting the job (Townsend would have likely also been brought on board had Keith Butler been hired as defensive coordinator).
Now he’s hoping to impart some wisdom on guys like DRC and Greg Toler, wisdom that allowed him to play more than a decade in the league — and, I suppose, could get longer, since, you know, he hasn’t retired yet (No sign yet that there will be any Brett Favre comparisons.
“At 35, it’s a good thing (to coach),” Townsend said. “It’s neat to have something to step into, but it keeps me in the game, a game I love. If I can help a young guy reach his goals, that’s my next challenge. That’s what you always want, is a challenge.”
Tags: coaching staff, Colts, Deshea Townsend, DRC, Greg Toler, Ray Horton
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