Fairley, 26, has recorded 58 tackles and 12.5 sacks in 22 games over three seasons. The 2011 first-round pick has struggled to control his weight and was demoted to the second-team last week.
Earlier this offseason, the Lions declined to pick up Fairley's fifth-year option for 2015 with the hope that he would be motivated to stay fit, according to reports.
Fairley arrived at mini camp having lost 30 pounds but has since added weight. Veteran C.J. Mosley is expected to start over Fairley in Friday night's preseason game against Jacksonville.
"Our job is to get our guys to play well no matter what it takes," Austin said before Wednesday's practice. "Not everybody is going to be a guy that's a self-start worker all the time. There's different ways that you have to motivate guys and get them going. That's part of our job to figure out what makes a guy tick, what's going to help him play well.
"We're doing whatever we can to try to do that. We feel the guy is super talented. He's a good guy. We just want him to play great. That's what we're working towards. I think he's on track now."
In 62 games over four seasons, Suh, 27, has recorded 135 tackles and 27.5 sacks and earned three Pro Bowl appearances. He was named the NFL's defensive rookie of the year in 2010 after being drafted No. 2 overall out of Nebraska.
The Lions said earlier this offseason that they were tabling contract extension talks with Suh until after the season, leaving open the possibility that the team could lose both Fairley and Suh in free agency next year.
Suh admitted Nick Fairley is more athletically gifted than him and could be better. Pretty bold statement and sad that it's not happening.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) August 20, 2014
- Chris Johnson