Not only is the list of Chicago Bears head-coach candidates growing exponentially, but it is also doing so while targeting plenty of high-profile names.
The latest is a pair of coordinators on the defending Super Bowl champs:
Bears requested permission to interview both Bucs coordinators, OC Byron Leftwich and DC Todd Bowles, per league source.
So Bears interested in both Bucs coordinators and both Bills coordinators, Brian Daboll and Leslie Frazier.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2022
All right! So one day, after requesting interviews with Bills coordinators Brian Daboll and Leslie Frazier, the Bears are turning around and doing the same with the Buccaneers’ Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles.
For Bowles, this is his second interview with the Bears regarding their head-coaching search. If you’ll recall, Bowles was the first coach then-GM Ryan Pace discussed the position with upon his hiring in 2015. As in, the day the Bears made it official with Pace was the same day he was interviewing Bowles. Talk about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fryer.
Bowles’ head-coaching tenure with the Jets didn’t go well. But how much of that can we attribute to the Jets being the Jets? Re-uniting with Bruce Arians as the Bucs DC and creating the defense that stumped Patrick Mahomes in his quest for a second Super Bowl put Bowles back on the coaching radar. Maybe the Bears would be interested in zagging with a defensive guru after zigging with their last head coach being of the offensive persuasion.
But if the Bears *DO* decide on an offensive-leaning coach, Leftwich represents an interesting candidate. For what it’s worth, I’m old enough to remember wanting the Bears to *DRAFT* Leftwich to be their franchise QB in 2003. Now, I have an interest in Leftwich coaching the Bears in 2022. Especially since he is getting Arians’ sign-off as a leader play-caller:
Bruce Arians doesn't attend offensive meetings; he says Byron Leftwich fully runs the Tampa Bay offense. https://t.co/wTOYhTp9OH
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 21, 2021
I love it when things can come full circle like this. And if the Bears take a swing on the upside, Leftwich running the show in Tampa Bay works in his favor.
In a cruel twist of irony, seeing both of Arians’ top lieutenants on Chicago’s radar is a cruel reminder of how the Bears fumbled the bag when they had a chance to hire the man himself in 2013. Arians was coming off winning Coach of the Year in Indy, taking over for Chuck Pagano while he was battling cancer treatments. But rather than hire Arians, the Bears chose Marc Trestman. Whoopseidoodle.
Chicago’s football team has had a knack for bringing in good people for interviews, only to see them not reel in the best choice. Ideally, that cycle ends soon. And if it happens because the team hires an Arians assistant, it will be fitting in a weird kind of way.