Another day, another round of departures from Halas Hall.
This has become a common refrain for the Chicago Bears, who have seen assistants coaching the running backs, wide receivers, offensive line, outside linebackers, and secondary leave this offseason.
The latest to leave Chicago is Jerry Butler (who served as the team’s director of player development), and assistant special teams coach Richard Hightower isn’t too far behind him.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports Butler retired after season’s end, three years after being hired by head coach John Fox – with whom he worked from 2011-14. Butler – who also served on the NFL’s Player Engagement Executive Steering Committee – was an experienced staff member who was popular with players.
Prior to his time working with Fox, Butler worked with the Browns (1999-2010) where he also worked as a wide receivers coach and in the front office of the Bills (1992-98).
Butler is a football lifer who was the AFC’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1979 for the Bills, and a Pro Bowl player a year later. He spent nine years with the Bills as a receiver, picking up the team’s Man of the Year award in 1981 and 1982.
As for Hightower, he looks to be on his way to reuniting with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. Hightower is reportedly expected join Shanahan’s staff as special teams coordinator. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Hightower, who was the 49ers’ assistant special teams coach in 2015.
Shanahan has a long-standing relationship with Hightower that dates back to being teammates at the University of Texas. From there, Hightower and Shanahan worked together while with the Texans (2006-08), Redskins (2010-13) and Browns (2014).
The Bears, who still haven’t replaced outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt on a full-time basis, saw their wide receivers coach leave Monday to go to the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday.
Is it time to be concerned about this coaching exodus yet?