San Francisco, Atlanta request permission to talk to Teryl Austin

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin got the call that the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers were interested in talking to him about their head-coaching vacancies and the first thing he did was call his wife.

Then he let her celebrate, hung up the phone and went back to work preparing for Detroit's playoff game against Dallas on Sunday (4:40 p.m. ET, Fox).

Austin, who has turned the Lions' defense into one of the best in the NFL this season, said he is "flattered" by the possibility of interviewing for head-coaching jobs next week. Austin said he will talk with Lions coach Jim Caldwell about whether he would interview for either position and "cross that when it comes."

It won't come until after Detroit's wild-card game with Dallas on Sunday. Of course, he is hoping he and Detroit's top-rated run defense will also be preparing for Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs. Austin said how prepared he felt Detroit's team was would help make his decision of whether he would interview for head-coaching jobs.

It is that top-rated run defense and crafting one of the NFL's top overall defenses that has attracted the Falcons and 49ers to Austin in the first place.

Austin said the conversations he has had with Caldwell have centered about when would be the best time to interview if Detroit is still playing and pointers about going through the process to hit on things he might not think of as an assistant coach.

"One of the things, I hope it happens for him because he's deserving of it. He's a quality coach," Caldwell said. "He's outstanding and I've talked to him about it all along, give him every single thing that I know in terms of preparation and those kinds of things, and I've been through it the same time of year that he's going to go through and that kind of thing. We talk about those things and we'll talk about everything that's going to be asked and he'll be well prepared for it when it does happen. But for all of us, for him and I think for his family I think he's deserving of it. I think he's going to get one.

"Once they get an opportunity to see him and listen to him and watch what he's been able to do, I think it'll happen for him and I think that'll be absolutely outstanding. I do think, I love ambitious people that are trying to improve their lot in life and their career but we also have a job to do right now so we're focused on that more so than anything else and when that time comes we'll talk a little bit more in detail about it."

Caldwell has been a mentor to other potential coaching candidates in the past. As Nevada head coach Brian Polian told ESPN.com earlier this year, Caldwell's advice when he was going on interviews was invaluable and something he still brings up today.