Townsend’s sudden sunset

Posted by Darren Urban on February 21, 2011 – 8:59 am

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.”

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27 Responses to “Townsend’s sudden sunset”

  1. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Since he’s still officially a NFL player and coaches can’t have contact with them after March 3rd, if CBA not ratified, does that mean that Townsend won’t be able to talk to himself?
    And since he’s an active player, could he be a liaison between Horton and the DBs and still coach while circumventing the intended rule of no communication?

  2. By Eazy E on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Great hiring by Horton, townsend was a good cb with the steelers/colts. I think he’ll do well.

  3. By jocards on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Well the secondary has to play better than they did in 2010, if Townsend can help great. Being as Ray Horton intends to bring the blitz and get after the QB, the DB’s will need to be much better in coverage. DRC and Toler both need to take steps forward in their development. A better pass rush would help them but the two go hand in hand….A good pass rush makes your coverage look better, good coverage makes your pass rush look better.

  4. By Rich on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    I’m worried about the linebacker position. Big contracts to a few old guys and not alot of speed across the board.

    and beside QB, we need a running back other than HT that can pick up a blitz and block a bit, and a tight end that can run and catch.

    enough talk about the db’s……………………

  5. By R Robles on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren teams are releasing guys already do you think we will be doing the same thing soon? & are we gonna tag anyone?

  6. By Darren Urban on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    R Robles —

    RE: Releasing/tag

    I have already addressed the tag situation ( and nothing had changed.

    As for releasing players, the Cards, as far as I know, don’t have anyone in line for a roster bonus or something like that, so I’m not sure they will cut anyone right now.

  7. By brad oneill on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    not bad to have a coach that can step in and probably keep up if not outplay the current dbs. he may not have drcs speed but you dont play 13 years if you aren’t something special. I hope the guys learn a ton from this guy and i hope he finds coaching to be even more rewarding than playing. there is something fantastic about helping others exceed their potential.

  8. By Brandon LA on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Making a change back there coaching wise seems like a step in the right direction. In 2011 I wonder if they will still try and grow Toler into the corner position. Both DRC and him have great speed.

    Welcome Townsend.

    I’m with Rich though… Can’t wait to see what happens at Linebacker.

  9. By AZCardsWin on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Darren,
    Has DC Horton commented on if LB J.Porter is in his plans this year?


  10. By Darren Urban on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    AZCardsWin —

    RE: Porter

    The Cards haven’t been specific on any players yet.

  11. By Jerrytown on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    I actually think he’s going to add (along with Horton since he played DB for 10 years) some credibilty to our defensive coaching staff. The players will listen because they can relate and they know their coaches have the experience and aren’t just preaching knowledge. Townsend may not have been a superstar, but thats more a product of his size than technique and ability, similar to Michael Adams. I like the hire and I think he brings a lot to the table. Now if the CBA can get resolved we can finally start adding pieces and really get excited about the direction of the team! Hopefully…

  12. By georgiebird on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    The talk I hear from the new defensive coaches is very encouraging.

    The other side of the coin is- how are they going to do so much more with the defense- given the players will be mostly the same? If the new guys can get a lot more productivity from the D, it will be an indictment against the previous coaching staff which the fans on this site were so much against.
    So, we’ll all be watching closely to see if the fans on this site were on to weaknesses in the D coaching staff that took management a lot longer to recognize.

  13. By Rich on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Are you going to do a “Mock Draft” this year?

  14. By Darren Urban on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Rich —

    RE: Mock

    If I do — and I probably will — it won’t be until a couple days before the draft, as always.

  15. By D on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    We should make him a player/coach, he could be the nickel corner next year…

  16. By chongisto on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Hey darren,

    So the obvious CBA issues kind of ruin move talks but I just want to get your opinion on 3 moves I think help the cardinals both from a making current players happy state but also one taking us from the bottom back to the top… #1 draft Von Miller and let Joey go… I know the staff loves him from his days in Pitt but that players only meeting where only three players talked didn’t obviously right the ship in anyway and he had more offsides than anyone in the red I can remember… #2 Trade for Kevin Kolb and make Fitz happy because if Fitz likes him we need that chemistry and him happy so he will stick around for a few more years and win us some rings… I see Kolb as a poor mans Aaron Rodgers and he just needs some reps and a good team personality around him to make him a star… not like in phili with an ex criminal running the offense and T.O. 2.0 in Jackson as your number 1 threat…. #3 and lastly the most expensive but open that check book and go after a quality free agent no more moves like getting emmitt smith or joey porter or any other veteran far past their prime… yes I’ll admit Kurt did an amazing job and is by far one of our best moves in our front office but I have often wondered if that was a denny green move or not… so that being said Whiz if you want to be like Pittsburgh go after asomugha who still has alot of tread on his tires and paired with DRC Rhodes and Wilson the by far most difficult Defense backfield in the league to throw on. Plus he can show DRC and Toler what is needed to be a great corner with his work ethic and willingness to give back to his community he would be a great fit to be paired up with Fitz and help grow the cardinals as a respected name in the NFL both on and off the field

  17. By Darren Urban on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Chongisto —

    RE: Moves

    Obviously, those would seem to very much improve the team. Even if the Cards want to do all three though, it isn’t all under their control.

  18. By Jeff on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply


    This is off topic, but I’ve just got to ask the question. I’ve been looking into a lot of mock drafts lately and many have the Cardinals taking Von Miller with our #5 pick, others Blaine Gabbert. I know we need a pass rush, but I believe QB should be a much bigger priority for us. My question is do you think with the recent rise of Cam Newton on everyone’s draft boards that the Cardinals would strongly consider taking him if he gets past Buffalo and Cincinnati? I know everyone says he is not an immediate solution for anyone’s QB situation, but I just don’t see how we could pass up on such a talented individual. We could sign Marc Bulger and let Newton learn behind him. Signing a veteran QB alone would just leave us in this same situation a few years from now and I don’t think trading our #5 pick for Kolb is anywhere near worth it.

  19. By Darren Urban on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Jeff —

    RE: Newton

    That’s what the combine and workouts are for.

    I could see passing up on such a “talented individual” if you are less than satisfied that he will make it. You can’t mess up a first-round pick and you have even less room for error at No. 5.

  20. By Phoenixraven1 on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Agree with ya D for sure, all these QBs are way to close in talent to know what’s in the crystal ball. Might as well get a sure thing pass rusher in Miller or Quinn and pick up Locker or Colin Kaepernick in round 2, id that’s the route they want. I’d prefer Miller with Kolb for our #2 and a conditional next year.

  21. By brad oneill on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    georgiebird-in all fairness to the management it is unusual to replace coaches in the middle of the season. I am sure they noticed and tried to correct issues long before they threw the coaches under the bus. As fans we have the right to start pointing out issues long before it is appropriate to actually fire someone over the issues.

    now that the horde has been successful in getting the defensive coach removed, how many more bad games does our offensive line have before the venerable mr. Grimm is chased away by plastic fork wielding season ticket holders.

    for the record i am not calling for this action i just know it is a glowing area of under performance.

  22. By georgiebird on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    Brad Oneill,

    Let’s give Grimm some slack. Until the Cardinals have an at least an average QB how can you blame the OL coach. A bad QB and a bad defense would make any OL a longshot to succeed.
    I am not a big fan of Whiz and throwing Grimm under the bus (as another bad hire) would be easy for me to do. This is not to say that the OL is top notch but the Ol is still better than any of the defensive components-DL; LB; DB.

  23. By hebrew on Feb 22, 2011 | Reply


  24. By jocards on Feb 22, 2011 | Reply

    First of all I don’t think Philly would settle for anything less than a #1 in exchange for Kolb. The bigger issue is that without a new CBA the Cards can’t trade for anybody nor can they sign any FA’s.

    Darren – Is there anything new to report about the CBA situation? Any gut feeling as to how long this issue might linger? How far are the powers that be willing to go? I’ve read some scenarios that say Free Agency could be put on hold for a year, regular season games could be sacrificed, that the new head of the NFLPA does not want to appear weak so no agreement will be consumated prior to a lock out, etc., etc. Your thoughts?

  25. By Darren Urban on Feb 22, 2011 | Reply

    jocards —

    RE: CBA

    I am reading the same things everyone else is. I will hold to my original thoughts for now, that even with a work stoppage I’m not sure regular-season games will be missed. But get back to me in mid-March. We’ll have a better feel then.

  26. By ReoHays on Feb 24, 2011 | Reply does a good job.

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