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Dick LeBeau will return for his 59th NFL season, at age 80


Donn Jones

Dick LeBeau will be 80 at the start of the 2017 season, his 59th as an NFL player or coach. And if you think he’s ready to retire, you don’t know Dick LeBeau.

LeBeau, a Hall of Fame defensive back for the Lions and one of the best defensive coordinators in NFL season, confirmed that he will be back as the Titans’ defensive coordinator next season. The only question for LeBeau was whether head coach Mike Mularkey would bring him back; once Mularkey told LeBeau he wanted him to return, LeBeau immediately agreed.

“The only question in my mind was from the standpoint that somebody’s got to want you to work,’’ LeBeau said. “When Mike said he wanted me to stay, there was no doubt.”

LeBeau said he’s proud of the growth he saw in the Titans’ young players last season and believes they can get better with another offseason of work.

“It was really fulfilling for me to watch our players have some success and to see our team have some success, and that is really why you coach. You are just a teacher. It was a rewarding year,” LeBeau 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. If I were a younger person you wouldn’t even think about [walking away]. Things are headed in the right direction. I try not to pay much attention to the age aspect.”

Eventually, Dick LeBeau’s time in the NFL will come to an end. But it won’t be his 59th season. And no one should bet against his 60th, either.

Photo via Tennessee Titans.