Well, well, well. Here we are again. For the second time in as many years, Pat Fitzgerald’s name has popped up among theoretical replacements for Matt Nagy. With Nagy’s keister firmly on the hot seat, it was only a matter of time before potential candidates started emerging, and this is a rumor with which Bears fans should already be familiar. Let’s dive in.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer lists the Bears as a possible landing spot for Pat Fitzgerald should he choose to take his talents from the college ranks to the pros.
In Fitzgerald’s case, I’ve heard, at least short term, that the Bears would probably be the only team he’d consider. Remember, two years ago, he turned away interest from the Packers and president Mark Murphy, the former Northwestern AD who took a chance in making Fitzgerald the head coach there at 31 years old. Which is to say, if he’s gonna turn that one down, he’s not leaving to go just anywhere.
I’ve also heard his kids are a factor—his three sons are aged 11-16—and he may want to stay where he’s at to see them through school.
Fitzgerald’s name is often tossed into the fray this time of year when candidate lists emerge. In fact, we’ve seen Fitzgerald’s name connected to the Bears and Packers openings in recent years. HOWEVER, the difference with this report is that Breer hears Fitzgerald might even consider taking the job if offered. Moreover, it might be the only NFL head-coaching job he’d consider. So I’m sorry if you’re a fan of the Falcons, Jets, or some other team wanting to poach Fitzgerald from Evanston’s sidelines. Because it appears as if the only job he’ll leave for is the one closest to home.
The seemingly annual Fitzgerald-Bears rumors are usually met with me rolling my eyes into the back of my head. But admittedly, I’m not sure if I should shrug it off so nonchalantly any more. Last December, a report surfaced suggesting that NFL executives believed that if Fitzgerald ever left Northwestern, that it would be for the Bears job. And that came during a time when Nagy’s place on the hot seat was purely hypothetical. Makes you wonder. Doesn’t it? Nah. Couldn’t be. Well … maybe? Hmmmmmm.
It feels as if Fitzgerald is a college coach through and through. Fitzgerald has his dream job at his alma mater, a top-25 team, and no reason to want to leave. But a history of reports connecting Bears and Fitzgerald, plus Nagy on the hot seat, means we can’t ignore this.