Don “Wink-Wink” Martindale leaving NFL for College Football:Former Giants, Ravens DC making return to college football after two decades in NFL

Former Giants, Ravens DC makes return to college football after two decades in NFL
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Former Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale is making his return to the college game after two decades in the NFL.

Martindale’s coaching career began with two seasons at his alma mater, Division III Defiance College, as the program’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 1986 and 1987. Martindale then worked with four different Division I teams from 1994-2003, holding various titles.

The 60-year-old’s first NFL gig was with the then-Oakland Raiders from 2004-08, serving as the group’s inside linebackers coach for two years and then linebackers coach for three seasons. Martindale was the Denver Broncos linebackers coach in 2009 and held his first NFL defensive coordinator job with the Broncos in 2010.

He joined John Harbaugh’s Ravens ahead of their Super Bowl-winning 2012 campaign as the inside linebackers coach, held that position for four seasons and then was the linebackers coach for 2016 and 2017. Martindale was Baltimore’s defensive coordinator for four years from 2018-2021 as the unit finished second in points per game allowed in 2018 and 2020 and third in 2019.

He was the Giants defensive coordinator in 2022 and 2023, before their messy breakup last month.

Per Austin Meek of The Athletic, Martindale is known for “an aggressive, blitz-heavy style that differs from the version of the Ravens defense Michigan ran with (Mike) Macdonald and (Jesse) Minter.”

Martindale had been rumored to be in the mix for various NFL defensive coordinator or head-coaching positions since his departure from “Big Blue.” There was chatter this week that he was being considered for an interview as the Dallas Cowboys next defensive coordinator.

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