The Chicago Bears are doing what they can to keep Vic Fangio in house, with the latest move a rejection of another team’s advances.
A league source tells Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that Cincinnati Bengals’ request to interview Fangio for their soon-to-be-open defensive coordinator position was declined by the Bears. Fangio will become a free agent once his contract expires on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m., but until then, the Bears have the right to refuse interview requests from other teams. Bengals Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther is expected to leave for the Oakland Raiders where he will join Jon Gruden.
The Bears met with Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks Coach John DeFilippo on Saturday. DeFilippo became the fifth candidate to interview for the vacant head coach position. The 39-year-old head-coach hopeful reportedly is keen on the idea of bringing back Fangio as the Bears’ defensive coordinator for a fourth year. Doing so would help the unit maintain some stability on as it continues its rise. It would be a win-win if this scenario played out for the Bears, especially with the Green Bay Packers lurking as a team interested in hiring Fangio for their defensive coordinator job.
Biggs writes the longer the Bears’ head coach search continues, the more difficult it could be to keep Fangio with the team. With four other head coach openings available, Fangio will likely receive interest from other coaches hoping to hire one of the game’s top defensive minds.
The Bears would prefer to retain Fangio, who was the team’s first official interview for the vacant head coaching job, for all the obvious reasons. Chicago’s defense was in ruins when he arrived in 2015 after a group coached by Mel Tucker put up some of the worst defensive numbers in franchise history. Fast forward to 2017 and Fangio’s unit finished the season ranked in the top 10 in yards and scoring defense. Considering the numerous injuries that hit the team throughout the year, there’s no secret behind the Bears wanting to keep him and why other teams want to bring him into the fold.
In the meantime, the Bengals can get in line behind everyone else who wants a piece of Fangio. For now, he’s a Bear.