John Fox’s departure from Chicago provided a clean slate for the Bears, a cause for celebration from some fans, and reason to point to the heavens for one of the franchise’s 28 Hall of Famers:
“Thank god John Fox’s ass is out of town” – Dan Hampton’s answer when asked about Matt Nagy. #Bears
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) June 8, 2019
Dan Hampton didn’t mince words when talking about the ex-Bears head coach at the Bears100 Celebration in Rosemont. Hampton has never been shy to speak his mind, so I shouldn’t be surprised the Hall of Fame defensive lineman who had a prominent media voice in Chicago after his playing career ended was thanking a higher power for Fox no longer being in charge. And yet, here I am.
I’m not necessarily surprised with what he said or that he said it, but perhaps I’m jarred because I’m so used to players taking more diplomatic approaches and using more caution when discussing former team employees. Then again, Hampton speaks for plenty of Bears fans, that much is for sure.
Hampton wasn’t the only one chiming in on Fox. Safety Gary Fencik expressed his approval of the regime change, though did so in a more measured way. Fencik, a two-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro, said he liked Fox, but one thing clearly was grinding his gears.
“John Fox didn’t treat fans with respect,” Fencik said, via JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago. “And I’m a fan, and I’m a season ticket holder. And it was kind of like this, hey, you don’t deserve to know, or I’m not going to give you a lot of information.”
One of my own biggest criticisms of Fox was that he seemingly treated questions from the media with disdain. Because while I understand a coach doesn’t want to give away too much, Fox treated every nugget of Bears-related information as if they were classified documents or something worth protecting at Fort Knox. And since those game plans were rudimentary at best, it was necessary to be that way as a coach of a rebuilding team. Fox’s record with the Bears might be the biggest reason he was given his walking papers, but I can’t help if Fencik’s assessment of how Fox treated fans was something others at Halas Hall agreed with and took note.
Current Head Coach Matt Nagy stands on the other end of the spectrum. And while he won’t divulge game plans, his engaging style and open personality is exactly what the team (and its fans) needed after Fox’s cold shoulder act wore thin.