ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions have reshaped their staff on defense by hiring Deshea Townsend to coach defensive backs, Terrell Williams to lead the line and Jim O’Neil as an assistant.

The Lions made the moves Wednesday, a day after releasing veteran safety Tracy Walker.

Detroit drafted Walker in the third round six years ago and cut him with one season left on his $25 million, three-year contract to save $5.5 million in salary cap space.

The 29-year-old Walker was inactive during the team’s three-game playoff run. He played in 17 games, including six starts, during the regular season. Walker started in 43 of 79 games and all five of his career interceptions were during the 2021 season when he finished with a career-high 108 tackles.

Six assistants from Dan Campbell's staff last season will not return: defensive backs coach Brian Duker, who has been hired by Miami, defensive line coach John Scott, cornerbacks coach Dre Bly, defensive quality control coach Wayne Blair, senior offensive assistant Jim Hostler and senior defensive assistant John Fox.

Townsend will also serve as passing game coordinator on defense, a role he had while coaching cornerbacks the past two years in Jacksonville. The former NFL cornerback has also been an assistant in Chicago, Tennessee, Arizona and with the New York Giants.

Williams, who also has the title of run game coordinator, has 12 years of experience in the league, including the past six as defensive line coach for the Titans. He also coached defensive lines for the Dolphins and Raiders.

O'Neil was Northwestern's defensive coordinator in 2021 and 22. He previously worked as an assistant coach in the league for the Raiders, San Francisco, Cleveland, Buffalo and the New York Jets.

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